National and International Health Experts and Diabetologists has said that people suffering from diabetes can keep fast under the supervision of their physicians as pricking fingers to monitor blood glucose levels and getting medicines through injections does not break the fast while in case of hypoglycemia a person can break fast and it would not require any atonement or Kafara. Despite risks of developing complications, millions of Muslim diabetics would insist on keeping fast in the coming month of Ramadan but if they follow the Diabetes and Ramadan (DaR) International Alliance guidelines, they could be able to fast for the entire month of Ramadan without any serious health issues. They were addressing the Inaugural Ceremony of 4th International Diabetes and Ramadan Conference held recently at a local hotel in Karachi.
Speaking on the occasion, Conference Chairman and Ramadan Study Group, Pakistan Prof. Yakoob Ahmedani said millions of patients with diabetes would wish to keep fast in the month of Ramadan but majority of them don’t know how to remain healthy and what to do to fast safely due to lack of awareness about their disease.
He informed that based on the Fatwas of religious scholars, pricking fingers to monitor blood sugar during fasting hours is not haram and can be done as it would not affect their fast. Patients can take injections for medicines and even IV fluid in case of emergency and it would also not break their fast. He further claimed that Muslims could also break their fast if their blood sugar drops below than 70 mg/dl as it is a life-threatening condition and added that they would not require any atonement or Kuffara for breaking fast. Such people would have to keep another fast in its place, he further said.
Even the patients with Type 1 diabetes can keep fast under guidance from trained and qualified physicians. But unfortunately, majority of General Practitioners (GPs) are themselves not aware of the guidelines for diabetes patients. He added that after 10 years of research of patients with diabetes, they can now declare that most of the patients could keep fast by acquiring structured education.
Eminent Diabetologist from South Africa, Dr. Mohamed Omer spoke on the scientific benefits of fasting with evidence. He said that scientific studies in the muslim and western world have revealed that fasting lowers the weight, maintains blood pressure and cholesterol levels and boosts the immunity of persons who keep fast for 30 days of Ramadan. Apart from the spiritual benefits of the fasting, there are proven scientific benefits for the faithful and now even Western physicians and doctors are recommending their patients to keep fast for its health benefits.
He further said that fasting also improves the diabetes control in the patients with type 2 diabetes. He asked the people to follow the true spirit of fasting as it would help them gain better health and overcome their health issues.
Dr. Mohamed Hasnain from United Arab Emirates (UAE) quoting many global studies claimed that millions of diabetologists keep fast despite their serious health conditions but if they follow the advice of experts and DaR guidelines, they could safely keep fasting for the entire month of Ramadan.
He said changes in the eating and sleep patterns during the month of Ramadan causes problems for people who keep fast but with the modification in the dosage and timings of drugs with better food choices, such people could remain healthy and safe without any complications.
Eminent Pakistani diabetologist Prof. Zaman Shaikh said patients who keep fast despite their health conditions were true muslims and doctors should encourage them to keep fast with clear instructions as to when and how they could remain healthy and fit during the month of Ramadan.
Prof. Ejaz Vohra said that doctors should help their patients in keeping fast safely because such people would try to keep fast irrespective of their health conditions.
Earlier speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the conference, Prof. Abdul Basit, Chairman of IDF Mena Region said they were holding Diabetes and Ramadan Conference to educate millions of Muslims who would be fasting in the holy month of Ramadan as there are now data-based, scientific guidelines available for the Muslims diabetics who would be fasting despite their disease. “As many as 148 million Muslims are diabetics as per very conservative estimates and majority of these Muslims would be keeping fast in the coming month of Ramadan. We have scientific guidelines for these diabetics so that they could safely observe the fasting. He informed that they would annually hold the Diabetes and Ramadan conference for the benefit of millions of Pakistani as well as millions of Muslims living in entire world and hoped that they would be able to reduce health issues of the Muslims keeping fast.
President of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Prof. Nam Han Cho declared Westernization as the major cause of diabetes epidemic in Asian countries, both in the Asia Pacific as well as Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region including Pakistan, saying sedentary lifestyle and Western food were the root-cause of diabetes among the Asians. He further informed that Asians produce lesser insulin as compared to people of other races and so when they start a sedentary lifestyle by following Western culture, eat more meat and carbohydrates and desist from their traditional rigorous life style, they tend to develop diabetes faster than people of other continents of the world.