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Poor Control of Diabetes in Ramadan

Those injecting insulin are advised not to fast, as the potential risk to health, both in the short and long term, of not taking insulin is too great.

People, who have their diabetes under control using tablets, should ensure that they visit their GP prior to Ramadan, in order to discuss any possible changes to their drug regime which would facilitate a safe fast. If not, such patients are at risk of poor control of their diabetes during and outside the fasting times.

Regular self-monitoring of your blood glucose is strongly advised. Low blood sugar levels (a hypo) is dangerous, and if untreated may lead to faint or fits, and hence must be strictly avoided. Feeling dizzy, sweaty and disorientated may all suggest "a hypo". If suspected, you should have a sugary drink, or place sugar or a sugar-rich sweet below the tongue, immediately.

Long acting tablets, such as glibenclamide, increase the risk of having "a hypo", and should be changed to a shorter acting variety before embarking on a fast.

Diabetics with further complications, such as angina or heart failure, stroke, retinopathy (eye disease), nephropathy (kidney disease) and neuropathy (nerve disease of feet/hands with numbness/loss of feeling) should seek careful advice from their doctor before starting a fast.

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