By Abdellatif Sharaa
KUWAIT: Farwaniya Hospital’s endocrinology unit organized a diabetes awareness day for the month of Ramadan under the theme “Your sugar is OK in the month of goodness”. “Fasting during the month of Ramadan generally improves diabetic conditions,” said Head of Kuwait Diabetes Society and endocrinologist at Mubarak Hospital Dr Waleed Al-Dhani.
Dr Dhani, who is also director of Kuwait’s Endocrine Fellowship Program, said most diabetics can fast in Ramadan. He made exceptions in certain cases, such as those who suffer from repeated drop in blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) during the three months before Ramadan and those who suffer from chronic diseases such as heart, eye, nerve and liver conditions. Diabetics who are injected multiple times a day, type one diabetics and diabetic pregnant women should also refrain from fasting.
Diabetes, said Dr Dhani, is a chronic disease that remains with the patient all their life and requires an adjustment in lifestyle and adherence to instructions, while regularly taking medication on time. It may also be accompanied with other chronic diseases such as obesity, high levels of cholesterol and hypertension.
There are around 148 million diabetic Muslims around the world, said Dr Dhani. He confirmed that the disease has a 25 percent prevalence in Kuwait, which is worrisome. Around 78 percent of type-2 diabetics fast half of the month of Ramadan, said Dr Dhani. The numbers are lower for type-1 diabetics, with 43 percent of patients fasting during the month.
Those with diabetes must visit their doctors one to two months before the holy month to know whether their condition allows them to fast or not, said Head of Internal Medicine at Farwaniya Hospital Dr Naela Al-Mazidi.
She also had some advice for diabetics planning to fast: Break your fast on time and delay suhoor, drink enough water and avoid dehydration during the iftar period. She said patients should include fruits and vegetables in their meals and avoid eating too many sweets and drinks high in sugar and caffeine.
Head of Endocrinology Department at Farwaniya Hospital Dr Mohammad Al-Kandari said the number of out-patient visits last year was 4,892 cases, about half of which were cases at diabetes clinics. The number of gestational diabetes cases at outpatient clinics reached 924, he said, while the number of patients who visited diabetes clinics was more than double that at 2,480.