Tips for diabetic Muslims on fasting for Ramadan

Long days of June and July mean prolonged hours of fasting

An Indian Muslim offers prayers inside a mosque during the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan in Mumbai yesterday. During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk. Photograph: Divyakant Solanki/EPA

An Indian Muslim offers prayers inside a mosque during the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan in Mumbai yesterday. During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk. Photograph: Divyakant Solanki/EPA

Mon, Jun 30, 2014, 13:32

Ramadan, the annual Muslim month of fasting, has begun. Its first full day was yesterday and it continues until July 28th next.

Representing the ninth month of the Islamic year, and measured by the lunar calendar, it begins at a different date in the more familiar solar calendar every year.

Where Muslims are concerned it means fasting from sunrise to sunset while praying five times a day.

Included are those 49,000 Muslims who were recorded as living in Ireland in the 2011 census.

With the days longest at this time of the year in Ireland, such lengthy fasting can prevent health difficulties for Muslims here who suffer from diabetes.

With that in mind Diabetes Ireland and the pharmaceutical company MSD have prepared The Facts About Fasting During Ramadan.

It also includes a Ramadan calendar, which provides an easy point of reference for managing daily food intake and medication timing.

Dr Anna Clarke, health promotion and research manager with Diabetes Ireland urged people with Type 2 diabetes who may be fasting “to visit their healthcare professional for a medical assessment as early as possible” discuss any necessary lifestyle modification or changes to treatment regimens.

“GPs, pharmacists, nurses and other healthcare professionals have a really important role to play in supporting patients with specific needs. It’s vital that a discussion take place ...this year, due to Ramadan falling at a time of increased daylight hours, it’s particularly challenging and may pose serious health risks” she said.

Hard copies of The Facts About Fasting During Ramadan are available from the Islamic Cultural Centre in Dublin’s Clonskeagh.

The Facts kit is available to download free from Diabetes Ireland (at www.diabetes.ie) and also outlines healthy eating and diet tips and guidance on when to break the fast, if necessary.