KARACHI: “Fasting regenerates the entire immune system of the human body. People with diabetes or any chronic health condition should consult with their physicians about the advisability of fasting.
Fasting in Ramazan carries a very high risk for people with type-1 diabetes. Fasting improves metabolic function and helps to lose excess weight and water. Diabetic patients must keep themselves away from heavy physical exercise or work during the afternoon.”
Prof Dr Jamal Ara, Head of the National Poison Control Center at the JPMC, Karachi, and National Coordinator for Chemical Safety for the World Health Organization (WHO), expressed these views at the recently held 49th public awareness seminar on “Ramazan and Health Issues,” held at the seminar room of the Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD) at the University of Karachi.
The Dr Panjwani Center and the Virtual Education Project Pakistan (VEPP) jointly organized the seminar.
Prof Jamal Ara, quoting a study, said that fasting for three days could regenerate the entire immune system. Fasting owns impressive health benefits as it strengthens not only the immune system, but it can also help lower blood pressure, and flushes out toxins, she maintained.
Quoting a reference from the Quran, she said that physically sick people, travelers, women during menstruation, pregnant, and nursing women should not observe fasting during Ramazan.
This year Ramazan, in the summer months, will have important implications for Muslims with diabetes who wish to fast, as fasting in Ramazan carries a very high risk for people with type-1 diabetes, she pointed out.
She stressed on the need for proper education especially for diabetic patients and said that fasting, with the new safer formulation of insulin, may be possible but with the potential compromise of inadequate control.
Prof Jamal Ara pointed out that a pre-Ramazan assessment of patients who wish to fast should be done three months prior to Ramazan. She said that the eructation of patients and their families on the signs and symptoms of hypo and hyperglycemia, blood glucose monitoring, meal planning, physical activity, and medication administration must be done before Ramazan.
She advised the patients to have blood glucose monitoring at any time including pre-Sahr, post- Sahr, midday, pre-Iftar, post-Iftar, or whenever symptoms of hypoglycemia occur. She added that a midnight blood glucose test was also needed.
She urged diabetic patients not to change their anti-diabetic drug intake during the holy month, as 60% of patients change their anti-diabetic drug intake. They do this without any medical supervision, she informed.
She further stated that citizens, especially patients with different medical conditions, are required to be calm and composed in the upcoming holy month. Ramazan acts as a de-stressor for people, she said, adding that it owned positive benefits on the mind, body, and soul.
In conclusion, Dr Ara advised citizens, especially patients, to have a healthy and balanced diet, and avoid large quantities of fried food and high cholesterol-meals during Ramazan. Consumption of plenty of fluids during non-fasting hours is also highly recommended, she maintained.