Fasting For Patients with Diabetes Mellitus

Fasting For Patients with
Diabetes Mellitus

Every year around the world, Muslims get together to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, or Hari Raya Aidilfitri as it is commonly known in Malaysia. However, it is during the month of Ramadan, the fasting period before Hari Raya that raises concerns about healthy and moderate eating, as well as unhealthy fasting methods. The first step to healthy fasting is to always observe the pre-dawn meal known as sahur, as it provides the individual fasting with a long-lasting energy source provided throughout the day until it is time to break the fast. While sahur does provide energy, the composition of a sahur meal should include complex carbohydrates that provide energy, high fibre foods that help prevent constipation, as well adequate amounts of protein and healthy fats.

Patients with diabetes mellitus should take extra precautionary care when committing to a fast, especially those classified as having Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) due to their insulin intake which needs to be adjusted to prevent hypoglycaemia (low-blood sugar) if not reduced enough and hyperglycaemia (high-blood sugar) when over-reduced. Regardless, it is still possible for diabetes mellitus patients to fast safely by speaking to their doctor about the necessary steps that need to be taken. A period of one to three months before Ramadan is optimum to help adjust the daily insulin intake needed. When preparing for sahur, T1DM patients should consume more complex carbs such as beans and whole grains and starting with fast-acting carbs such as dates and white bread during the buka puasa period, before moving onto more complex carbs. Also, prevention of dehydration happens with the intake of at least TWO litres of water before sundown and sunrise.

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