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ISLAMABAD – While stressing on the benefits of fasting in the holy month of Ramadan, Islam also offers special exemption to the sick people from observing their fast during Ramadan to avoid any hard condition. This viewpoint was highlighted at a health seminar entitled “Diabetes and Ramadan” arranged by Shifa International Hospital (SIH) on Saturday. Health experts at the seminar urged the diabetic patients to take extra care to manage their blood glucose level and avoid any unpleasant condition while fasting. The health seminar was intended to inform that according to Islam, people suffering from major ailment and on medication are advised not to put their lives at risk by fasting.
Dr. Usama Ishtiaq, Consultant Endocrinologist of SIH; Dr. Rezzan Khan, Consultant Nutritionist, SIH and Azmatullah Qureshi, Manager Religious Affairs of SIH addressed the seminar. Health experts advised the patients to consult their nutritionist before fasting during Ramadan to make adjustments to diet and to consult the physician to adjust their insulin and medication doses. It was pointed out at the seminar that scientific evidence has proved that fasting is enormously beneficial for health if only the diet is properly chosen and planned accordingly. A complete diet plan to follow during Ramadan prepared by Dr. Rezzan Khan was also distributed among the audience.
“Pre-diabetic patients, pregnant women with intense diabetic issues should not observe fasting as Islam also exempts those with critical health challenges” said Dr. Usama quoting verses from the Holy Quran. According to a research on diabetic patients in 15 countries on 12247 diabetic patients, more than half of them observed fasting without changing their previous diet and exercise schedule. “They consequently faced dangerous changes in their diabetes,” he added.
Dr. Rezzan Khan observed that fasting slows down metabolism hence body starts consuming calories. “It also lowers blood glucose and systolic blood pressure,” she said and advised the patients to improve and maintain nutritional status during Ramadan fasting especially. “Drug doses should be adjusted according to diet,” she suggested, while advising the patients to not to skip sehri (morning meal).
Azmatullah Qureshi while pointing out importance of fasting in Islam, told the audience about some health practices that do not affect fasting such as to be injected (not if the injection is used for nutrition), using asthmatic inhaler and donating blood. He said that in serious health issues, Islam allows patients not to fast but one has to compensate in terms providing food to the needy persons (fidya). He stressed on the need to consult physicians before start of the Holy month of Ramadan to avoid any complication at later stage.
Experts added that diabetic patients taking insulin should consult their doctor to see if their dose can be adjusted to allow fasting during Ramadan. In all cases of fasting with diabetes, blood sugar levels should be closely monitored, especially before and after meals.