Hypertension (high blood pressure), also known as the “silent killer”, often has no warning signs with many sufferers unaware that they may have developed it over a period of time.
If you have high blood pressure and wish to fast, you can do so with the approval of your physician.
Most medical studies have shown that patients with hypertension can complete their fast if they have no complications or other medical problems. If you have high blood pressure and wish to fast, fasting will not have a negative impact on your blood pressure balance.
Hypertension is rather rampant among Emiratis and approximately 40.8% of Emirati adults between the ages of 35-70 years suffer from hypertension, as revealed by a study conducted by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA)
Fasting during Ramadan can be well tolerated in patients with controlled and mild hypertension who continue their medication during Ramadan and there is no significant increase in blood pressure in critical periods of the day during fasting.
Our team of doctors at First Response Healthcare have prepared the following medical tips for patients with hypertension to follow during the month of Ramadan. Hypertension patients that have been declared fit by their physicians may use the following tips to help them participate in the fast.
Consult your Doctor
Hypertension patients should consult their doctor to make sure they’re healthy enough to fast and determine when they should take their medication.
Drink plenty of fluids and unsweetened natural juices at Iftar to avoid thirst, dehydration and other associated complications.
Medication during Ramadan:
Consult your physician to assess your health, determine whether you can fast or not, make any necessary adjustments to your medication dosages and determine the best time to take them between Iftar and Suhour.
- Most medications prescribed for people with high blood pressure need to be taken once or twice a day. Typically these medications will have a 12 – 16 hour effect. The tablets can be taken at Suhoor, and during the evening at Iftar.
- Patients who have tablets prescribed three times daily are likely to have short acting drugs. For these patients, it would be prudent to ask their physicians about the afternoon dose and if it can be adjusted to best help the fasting month. Usually most doctors are more than willing to help with adjustments.
- Your doctor can also determine if you need long-acting antihypertensive drugs that can be taken at night, once or twice a day, without affecting your fast.
- Those who may forget to take the blood pressure medication to promptly take it, if they remember within the same day . But in case of remembering on the following day , the dose should not be doubled.
Embrace good diet by controlling food quality and quantity as well. Research has shown that following a healthy eating plan can both reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and lower an already elevated blood pressure
- Make fruit and vegetables an essential part of your Ramadan meals as they are an important source of potassium that helps to control high blood pressure.
- Avoid any food that contains high percentage of fat.
- Avoid stimulants such as coffee and caffeinated soft drinks to reduce the intake of caffeine.
- Eat Low-fat dairy products because calcium plays an important role regulating blood pressure and improving bone health.
- Avoid processed meat and cheese such as sausages and mortadella as they contain high concentrations of sodium.
- Eat grilled fish at least twice a week, as it contains a healthy fat called Omega-3 which helps regulate blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular diseases. Good sources of Omega-3 include salmon and sardines.
- Consume red meat and poultry in moderation.
Reduce Salt Consumption
Stay away from high sodium foods such as salted nuts and pickles, which can lead to hypertension and replace them with a fresh green salad.
Exercising during Ramadan helps regulate blood pressure. Studies have shown that physical activity performed by Muslims a while after Iftar and during the Taraweeh prayers helps reduce high blood pressure. However, patients who suffer from additional medical conditions should consult their doctor before increasing their physical activities during Ramadan.
Measure your blood pressure regularly
Be aware of hypertension warning signs
During your fasting day, be aware of how your body reacts, look out for symptoms like dizziness and headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek emergency medical services right away or consult your physician immediately.
Patients with hypertension should consider Ramadan as an excellent opportunity to quit smoking as it raises the systolic pressure by at least 20 mm Hg, and significantly increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Ramadan is a good opportunity to gradually lose weight. Studies have shown that weight loss, even at just five percent of body weight, helps normalize blood pressure in Ramadan.
1. 40.8 per cent of UAE national adults have hypertension https://gulfnews.com/uae/health/408-per-cent-of-uae-national-adults-have-hypertension-1.1300591
2. The Effect of Fasting During Ramadan on Blood Pressure in Patients with Controlled and Mild Hypertension https://www.hilarispublisher.com/open-access/the-effect-of-fasting-during-ramadan-on-blood-pressure-in-patients-with-controlled-and-mild-hypertension-2167-1095-1000227.pdf