Fasting is an integral part of Indian customs and festivals. Be it Ramadan or Navratri, many people choose to observe a strict fast where they don’t even drink water. However, if you are diabetic, then fasting is not highly recommended as it might lead to drastic changes in your blood glucose level. But if you are planning to fast and keep your blood sugar under control, here are few tips from Dr. Pradeep Gadge, Diabetologist, Mumbai.
1. Firstly, consult your doctor to know if you can fast or not. Discuss your medical history and health complications beforehand to prevent complications later. Go ahead only if your doctor says it is ok.
2.Do not skip your medications even when fasting. In fact, your doctor might change the dose of medications based on your diet intake during fasting. This will help prevent sudden fall in blood glucose level when fasting.
3.There are times when even after following your doctor’s strict guidelines and taking medications on time, your blood glucose level may drop. Hence, check your blood glucose level regularly with a glucometer at home.
4. If you experience any symptoms of low blood glucose or hypoglycemia such as sweating or headache, then break the fast. You can eat sugar or drink sugary drinks to spike up the glucose level instantly.
5. As the effects of sugar lasts only for 25 – 30 minutes, you should stop fasting for that day and eat a diet rich in carbohydrates to ensure your blood glucose is in control.
In the even of seizures or lack of consciousness, please rush the patient to the hospital as it might indicate diabetic emergency.
After fasting (breaking the fast)
6. Break your fast with foods that are rich in proteins and low in carbohydrates and fats. This will help slow and steady release of glucose after a long day of fasting.
7. It is important to stay hydrated by eating fresh fruits and non-sugary beverages to prevent dehydration. Avoid fruit juices and carbonated drinks.
8. It would be good to include fresh fruits, vegetables and salads in your meal and not overload your body with snacks that are fried, salty and oily in nature when breaking the fast.
Who should avoid fasting?
Certain people are not advised to fast given their age and severity of health conditions. These include diabetics who –
-Have uncontrolled diabetes.
-Suffer from kidney disease.