Ramadan has just begun, marking a period of fasting and religious focus for millions of Muslims around the world. For those participating, remember to talk to your healthcare provider about your diabetes and make sure that fasting is a safe option for you. You might need to modify your exercise, diet and medication routines to keep your blood sugars in range during this time of year.
Top 3 Things to Watch Out for During Ramadan
1. Low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) – The risk of blood glucose levels going too low is greatest in people taking insulin or certain diabetes pills. Limit physical activity during fasting hours and be more active after sunset. Talk with your healthcare provider to find out if your medicine puts you at risk for low blood glucose and discuss how to prevent it.
SYMPTOMS INCLUDE: shakiness, heart racing, sweats/chills, intense hunger, numbness/tingling, drowsiness, blurry vision, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, confusion, anxiety, nausea, and headache
2. High blood glucose (hyperglycemia) – While low blood glucose levels may happen during the day, after the fast is broken, there is a greater risk to overeat. Watch out for eating too many sweets and keep the portion sizes moderate. Even though Ramadan is known as a time of fasting, it is not uncommon for people to gain weight during this month, as in some families, every evening meal is a celebration.
SYMPTOMS INCLUDE: Dry mouth, increased thirst, hunger, fatigue (weak, tired feeling), nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, fruity-smelling breath, blurry vision, headache, dizziness
3. Dehydration – This is especially a problem during the longer and hotter summer days. Aim to drink lots of water and sugar-free and caffeine-free drinks frequently throughout the evening and before dawn.
SYMPTOMS INCLUDE: Dry mouth, increased thirst, fatigue (weak, tired feeling), very yellow urine, dry skin, headache, dizziness
Follow the above recommendations and enjoy the celebrations! As long as you remain mindful and take the appropriate precautions, you can enjoy a very happy and healthy Ramadan.