When it comes to fasting, diabetics need extensive planning and help of a good diabetologist. This is because there are certain risks associated with fasting for diabetics. Ensuring that the blood sugar stays in a normal range is important during a fast.
Risks associated with fasting for diabetics:
Fasting, if combined with exertion, can dangerously lower the blood glucose levels of a diabetics. This is especially true for diabetics on medication called sulfonylureas and on insulin. For people who have a well-maintained disease, the risk might not be too great, but patients with widely fluctuating blood sugar might be advised against fasting.
Another risk with fasting in diabetes is a very high level of blood glucose. If the patient is not taking medication or insulin during the fasting hours, the glucose level can naturally run very high.
This is turn, can cause a condition known as ketoacidosis in type 1 diabetics. Ketoacidosis is a potentially dangerous condition in which there is a buildup of ketones in the body, and an increased requirement of insulin. Symptoms include intense thirst, extreme tiredness and frequent urination.
Guidelines for diabetics:
Diabetics should be properly educated about their condition and its consequences by their healthcare team. Before the fasting month, the patient should consult his healthcare team and have a proper check-up. Only if his doctor gives the go-ahead should the patient fast.
Patient should be thoroughly guided by the healthcare team on which mediation to take and on what time. Doses and types of mediation and their timing can be changed at the discretion of the diabetic team.
Once the patient starts fasting, he should frequently check the blood sugar level throughout the day and ensure that it stays between the normal ranges. If it is running slightly high, the patient can take a stroll to bring it down. Alternatively, if the blood sugar is low, then resting or taking a break can help.
At suhoor, diabetics should incorporate foods that slowly release their energy and have low glycemic index. Low glycemic index diet refers to foods that don’t raise the blood glucose to very high levels. Fiber rich food can also help, as it slowly releases energy. Protein is also a good source as it is high in energy and can provide nourishment throughout the day.
At the time of breaking fast, diabetics should eat a varied and balanced diet. Fatty and sugar food should always be avoided by diabetics, but especially so during ramazan. Furthermore, proper hydration is very important for diabetics. This is because diabetics risk losing water when the blood glucose is running very high. Thus to prevent that and to protect the kidneys, diabetics should drink plenty of non-caffeinated, and non-sugary drinks.
What to do when blood sugar runs very low?
Diabetics should be frequently checking their blood sugar when they are fasting. If they experience low blood sugar, and feel shaky, sweaty and disoriented, they should immediately break their fast and take their glucose tablet or a sugary drink. Extremely low blood sugar can prove dangerous and should be tackled immediately.
If you need further help managing your diabetes, then discuss your health issues with a general physician. Book an appointment with top diabetes specialist in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.