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Diabetic People's Commitment to Fasting Confuses Doctors

Diabetic People's Commitment to Fasting Confuses Doctors

Wednesday, 8 May, 2019 - 05:45
FILE PHOTO: A paramedic (R) checks the blood sugar level of a patient at SS Diabetes Care clinic in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 22, 2016. REUTERS /Beawiharta
Cairo - Hazem Badr
Although people with type 2 diabetes, especially those with serious cases, are allowed not to fast during Ramadan, the majority of them insist on fasting, which confuses doctors around the world.

Doctors in the US were keen to uncover the reasons behind this decision and reported them in a study published in January.

A report prepared by the Western Sydney University and published on May 3, discussed the same reasons and concluded that the patients' will must be respected, and the medical advice that helps them fast safely must be provided.

For their part, Singapore doctors have adopted a more practical solution by developing an artificial intelligence program allowing hospitals to provide advice to people with type 2 diabetes. A study on this program was published in October 2017.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes insulin-resistant or loses the ability to produce sufficient insulin from the pancreas, an important function to maintain blood sugar levels within healthy rates.

People with the disease can control their condition by maintaining a healthy lifestyle including exercises and a suitable diet. In the most serious cases, diabetic people may need to take medicines such as metformin, sulfonylureas or other glucose-reducing tablets, or insulin injections, which may not be possible if a person decides to fast.

Although doctors have always highlighted the risks of fasting for diabetic people, most patients insist on committing to this religious duty, which prompted doctors in the United States to try to look into the reasons behind it, according to a study published in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice in January 8.

The study dubbed "Patients with diabetes observing Ramadan: The experience of Muslims in the United States," involved 14 Muslim patients selected from mosques across North Carolina.

It cited four feelings that controlled the attitudes of fasting patients: spiritual attachment, social attachment, physical health, and adherence to Islam's teachings. The participants' frequent complaint was the lack of understanding by healthcare providers.

The study concluded that healthcare providers should talk to their patients in order to take the appropriate joint decisions to address this problem caused by cultural differences.

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