Fasting from dawn until dusk can be challenging for those who suffer from chronic conditions, especially now during the pandemic. If you or a family member suffers from chronic conditions, it is essential to take special care during this month of Ramadan.
Tips for your health during Ramadan:
Fasting for long periods of time every day may affect people living with diabetes. Below are some things to keep in mind during this Ramadan.
- Check your blood glucose level regularly. Changes in your eating habit may affect your blood glucose level so it is important to keep monitoring your glucose level. Measuring your blood glucose level (with a needle prick) will not break your fast.
- Consult with your doctor to adjust your medication timing and dosage before you fast to maintain an optimal blood sugar level.
Hypertension is when you have high blood pressure. It can lead to severe health complications and increase the risk of conditions such as heart disease, stroke, etc. If you suffer from hypertension, follow the below tips while fasting.
- Discuss with your doctor about your medication and ensure you are drinking plenty of water during non-fasting hours to prevent blood pressure from falling too low
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly; it is advised not to fast until your blood pressure is reasonably under control
- It is recommended to avoid high-fat food during this month
Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
Fasting during Ramadan is safe for most patients with heart problems and generally has a minor effect. However, it is extremely important for people with cardiac disease to maintain a proper diet in order to fast. Below are three things to keep in mind this month:
- Have a balanced nutritious diet and avoid oily or fried foods during sehri or iftar
- Keep salt consumption minimal
- Try to engage in regular movements such as going for a walk. Given the pandemic, you can try walking inside your home or on your rooftop.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
The main risk factors for developing kidney disease (CKD) are diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.CKD can be caused and exacerbated by other conditions like Diabetes and high blood pressure so it is important to keep these under good control. Most CKD patients can enjoy a well-balanced diet and adequate hydration is important. If you have late-stage kidney disease or require dialysis consult with your doctor about dietary and fluid requirements. During Ramadan, the effect of fluid restriction and dehydration on CKD patients may be the main concern but fasting doesn't increase the risk of CKD, elderly patients fasting for a prolonged period may still be at a higher risk. Diets to be mindful of during Ramadan:
- Avoid high-potassium food when breaking fast, like bananas, cooked spinach
- Avoid high phosphate foods, like organ meats, dairy, lentils
- Maintain hydration but avoid overhydration
- Monitor urine output and any signs of body swelling. If this occurs, consult with your doctor
Health comes first
According to the recent epidemiological results, people who fast do not experience higher rates of infections or hospitalization due to COVID-19. As a result, there is no proof that fasting lowers immunity or increases infection risk. However, people who have chronic diseases are in the high-risk group for COVID-19. Consult with your doctor first to understand the risks of fasting during the pandemic before you decide to fast.
The writer is Chief Medical Officer of Praava Health