A cornerstone of managing diabetes during Ramadan is patient education, which should include information on risks, glucose monitoring, nutrition, exercise and medication.
Studies have shown that pre-Ramadan counselling reduces episodes of low blood glucose. Pre-Ramadan education provides a platform to remind people with diabetes about the importance of diet and exercise, and that regular glucose monitoring is essential to avoid complications, while reassuring them that this does not invalidate the fast.
With the global prevalence of diabetes continuing to increase, and the number of fasting Muslims set to rise, the importance of effective guidelines for the management of diabetes during Ramadan fasting is clear. The IDF-DAR Practical Guidelines provide healthcare professionals with both background and practical information, as well as management recommendations to optimise the care delivered to people with diabetes who plan to fast during Ramadan.
Diabetes and Ramadan online course for health professionals
To support health professionals in providing the best possible care for people with diabetes who desire to fast during Ramadan, IDF and the Diabetes and Ramadan Alliance have developed a free online course on Diabetes and Ramadan, available in the IDF School of Diabetes.
The course provides the latest clinical practice recommendations to help health professionals advise people with diabetes to manage the condition effectively and prevent complications. Topics covered include:
The epidemiology and physiology of diabetes and Ramadan fasting
Risks associated with fasting in people with diabetes
Risk categories for people with diabetes who fast during Ramadan
Ramadan-focused diabetes education
Pharmacological management of high risk populations
The currently available epidemiological data shows that people who fast do not report higher rates of infections or hospitalization. There is therefore no evidence that fasting could lead to reduced immunity and higher risk for infection.
However, people with diabetes and complications, such as renal impairment or foot problems, are at high risker of infections. It is therefore important that they follow medical advice and do not fast to avoid increasing their risk of contracting COVID-19.