The Effects of Ramadan Fasting on Diabetes: What You Need to Know

The Effects of Ramadan Fasting on Diabetes: What You Need to Know

Fasting during Ramadan can lead to changes in meal schedules, water intake and sleep patterns. The effect of Ramadan fasting on diabetes includes the risk of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). There are studies that show that people with type 2 diabetes could have five times more blood sugar spikes during Ramadan. Thus, when it comes Ramadan for diabetics, it is important to analyze a diabetic’s risk profile before beginning fasting, and those found to be at increased risk are ideally recommended to not fast. 

It is important to be aware of the risks and effects of Ramadan fasting on diabetes. It is also essential to discuss the same with your doctor and family members. If you’re wondering ‘can diabetics fast in Ramadan,’ this depends on a couple of factors, including:

  • Type of diabetes.
  • If you can maintain your average blood sugar (HbA1c) within a healthy range or not.
  • Types of drugs that you are taking to manage diabetes.
  • If you are taking medications that put you at risk for hypoglycemia, such as B. Sulfonylureas and insulin.
  • If you have diabetic complications such as vision loss, nerve damage, heart or kidney disease. There is a high risk that fasting will exacerbate these health conditions.

It is important to discuss all the factors with your doctor before Ramadan fasting for diabetes. 

Ramadan For Diabetics

If you or someone in your family is diabetic, it is important to make note of the following steps, since they are crucial in managing the effect of Ramadan fasting on diabetes. The areas in which you need to take active steps in Ramadan fasting for diabetes include: 

1. Nutrition Management In Ramadan For Diabetics 

The role of nutrition management is essential in achieving optimal diabetes control in Ramadan. Sufficient calories should be consumed before dawn and after sunset in a balanced ratio of macro- and micronutrients to avoid daytime hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). Carbohydrates should be evenly distributed to prevent or minimize postprandial hyperglycemia (high blood glucose). 

In Ramadan fasting for diabetes, it is important to have a diet with a total carbohydrate content of 40-50%. Protein should account for 20-30% of total calories and fat 30-35%. Saturated fat should be less than 10% of daily calorie intake. You should also eat low-glycemic carbohydrates such as high-fiber vegetables and whole grains. Carbohydrates from sugar and highly processed grains such as white rice and maida should be avoided. Protein sources high in saturated fat such as red meat (beef, lamb) and processed meat should also be avoided. Over and above this, drink plenty of water and other liquids. Sugary drinks, syrups, and canned juices are also not recommended for diabetics, along with sugary and heavy desserts. One should also cut down on consumption of caffeinated beverages.

Here are some other helpful tips for Ramadan fasting for Diabetes: 

  • Iftar should start with enough water to overcome dehydration from fasting. Along with this, you should also have 1-3 small dried or fresh dates to raise blood sugar levels.
  • Protein and fat can make you feel fuller than high-carb foods, so eat the right amount of protein and fat and cut down on carbs.
  • You can eat 1-2 healthy snacks such as fruits and nuts as needed.
  • Try to avoid excess salt. 

2. Monitor Your Blood Glucose Levels

Diabetics who choose to fast should have their blood sugar checked regularly. Blood glucose monitoring becomes more important during Ramadan, as there are changes in diet and lifestyle, and this can increase the incidence of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Additionally, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels can make diabetics more aware of their eating habits and their impact on blood sugar levels, which can help curb potentially harmful behaviors. If blood sugar drops below 4 mmol/L, fasting should be interrupted and hypoglycemia should be treated with sugary foods and liquids followed by starchy ones. It is recommended that you carry a bottle of water with you during the fasting period.

During fasting, if you skip your usual prescription medications, eat a lot of starchy or sugary foods, and do less physical activity than usual, it can lead to high blood sugar levels and increase the risk of dehydration. This can make you feel dizzy and tired.

Before Ramadan fasting for diabetes, talk to your doctor about what high blood sugar means for you. If you exceed this level while fasting, you should drink water, break the fast and seek medical help. Without medical intervention, it can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is a serious condition that requires hospital treatment.

3. Exercise Is Essential In Ramadan For Diabetics

Fasting for 30 days repeatedly causes physiological changes in the body. One of the most favorable changes is for the body to start using energy from body fat. However, research shows that muscle strength and fitness decline after 30 consecutive days of inactivity. When you exercise during fasting in Ramadan, your body gets trained to burn fat more efficiently.
The benefits of exercising during Ramadan for diabetics include:

  • Helps increase fat loss
  • Helps control blood sugar levels
  • Helps maintain strength and endurance
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight and metabolism
  • Helps prevent muscle breakdown
  • Helps one stay active to perform rituals and prayers  

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you exercise during Ramadan: 

  • One should exercise 2-3 hours before Iftaar. Remember to limit your workout to 30-45 minutes.
  • Exercising in a cool environment is recommended.
  • Drink plenty of water after Iftaar to replace lost salts and minerals.
  • Avoid strenuous, high-intensity exercise, especially during summer fasts.
  • Keep a gap of 2-3 hours between meals and exercise. 
  • Avoid long periods of sitting. Walk a little whenever you can. 
  • Stop exercising immediately if you experience dizziness, nausea, difficulty breathing, or chest pain.
  • Drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration.  

4. Have A Safety Plan

When discussing the risks and effects of Ramadan fasting on diabetes with your doctor, it’s important to agree on an action plan incase of any health issues. The plan could comprise:

  • Checking your blood sugar more often than usual and making sure you have enough test strips to do so. 
  • Knowing what to do if your blood sugar is too low, too high, or if you feel sick. 
  • If you adjust your diabetes medication, you may need a different type or dose, and you need to know when it’s best to take them. 
  • You may need to regulate the amount of insulin since you don’t need that much insulin before you start fasting. You may also need to change your insulin type from your usual type. Note that premixed insulin is not recommended during fasting.  

Diabetes Tests At Home In Dubai | First Response Healthcare

First Response Healthcare (FRH) is a JCI accredited home healthcare company in Dubai that offers a range of medical services right at your doorstep, including the service of numerous diabetes related tests. If you want to get a test done to check your blood sugar levels, the FRH team can come within 30 minutes to your home, hotel or office located anywhere within the Emirate of Dubai. FRH provides high-quality, patient-centered care and it has received the Gold Seal of Approval for meeting the International Standards of the Joint Commission on Home Health Care. Through FRH, you cannot just access different diabetes related tests, but can also book an appointment or consultation for a doctor to visit you at home.

Diabetes Tests Offered By FRH Include:

  • Glucose, Serum (Fasting) – Also, known as Fasting Blood Glucose Test, this measures your blood sugar after an overnight fast. A fasting blood glucose level of 99 mg/dL or less is normal, 100 to 125 mg/dL is prediabetes, and 126 mg/dL or more is diabetes.
  • Glucose, Serum (Random/Postprandial) – A random glucose test is a method that measures the amount of glucose or sugar circulating in the blood. For glucose tolerance tests, the normal range is usually 140 milligrams/deciliter or less.
  • Glycated Hemoglobin, HBA1C – Also known as Hemoglobin A1C Test, this measures your average blood sugar level over the past 2-3 months.
  • HOMA-IR (Insulin Resistance Test) – This test used to determine the likelihood of developing diabetes in an individual.  

Features That Make FRH Different:

  • Time for Appointments: You can book an appointment with us, for a test or for a doctor’s appointment, at any time or day that works for you best. Our medical professionals work in shifts and thus our services are available 24/7,  365 days a year. 
  • Time To Reach You: Once you book an appointment with us, we can reach you within 30* minutes. 
  • Areas Our Services Cover: We can come to you anywhere within the entire Emirate of Dubai
  • Where Our Doctors Visit You In Dubai: Home, Hotel or Office
  • To make an appointment, all you need to do is: Call on 0505050 387 or 800DIALDOC.

To book any Diabetes related tests in Ramadan for Diabetics, you can call on 0505050387 or 800DIALDOC. You can also reach out to us by visiting

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