Advising Diabetics Who Fast During Ramadan

May 18, 2018

Ramadan started this week and many Muslims will refrain from eating or drinking during the day for 30 days, as a way to grow closer to God.

Baystate Medical Center has issued an advisory for patients with Type 2 diabetes who fast this month.

Diabetic patients who fast are at risk for low blood sugars and dehydration. That can cause patients to become shaky, sweaty or even have seizures that can lead to a coma. Baystate Medical Center is advising patients who fast to discuss it first with their doctors, who may adjust their medication.

Reza Mansoor, president of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford and a cardiologist at Hartford Hospital, said the Baystate advise is wise. But he said the message is more effective when it comes from the Muslim community.

"We do it in the mosque," said Mansoor. "We tell them, 'If you are sick, you don't have to fast.' It's a very clear clarification in the Quran that those who are sick don't have to fast. Instead they can feed a poor person."

Mansoor said if someone who can't fast gives to those in need, they still get the same benefit of fasting.