Take extra care this year, says Diabetes UK and Mosque leaders.
The holy month of Ramadan is due to start this week, when many members of the Muslim community across London will be fasting during daylight hours.
Ramadan can be a challenge for Muslims living with diabetes for whom the medical implications of undertaking a prolonged fast can be serious if not managed well. Of course, this year the coronavirus pandemic facing us all is extremely serious.
If you have diabetes and are thinking of fasting, we advise you to consult your GP or diabetes nurse. Many are offering phone consultations. They will outline the potential risks associated with fasting and may also be able to provide some useful tips on how to manage your condition if you do decide to fast. We've also got more online guidance about Ramadan, as well as factsheets in different languages, to support you during this time.
People with diabetes are not obliged to fast and mosques are likely to be offering guidance on alternatives this year.
Roz Rosenblatt, London Head at Diabetes UK, said,
“We recognise and respect that this is a very important time. This year in particular we are urging people with diabetes to take care of their health.
Those who do choose to fast need to take particular care as fasting for this length of time will increase the risk of their blood glucose levels rising or falling - which can be harmful to their health - and of them becoming dehydrated. If you are showing any symptom of Covid-19 the official advice is do not fast."
Imam Abdul Qayyum is the Head Iman of the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre, the largest Mosque in the country. He said:
“Allah says in the Qur’an that He will not place any difficulty on a man more than that person can bear. When it comes to fasting in the month of Ramadan, those whose health might be made worse by fasting, for example, people with diabetes or those struggling with Covid-19 are given the alternative of charitable giving. Allah, through His mercy, allows people to exchange one virtuous deed with another.”
Imam Abdul Qayyum said that those who don’t fast can instead pay fidiyah (compensation) to feed the poor as stated in the Surah Baqarah, verse 183 and should consult their local Mosque for more information.
If you have any questions about fasting during Ramadan, or about your condition in general, please give our helpline a call. We've also got up-to-date information about coronavirus, as well as more tips on how to manage your diabetes whilst staying at home.