Despite the serious health risks that fasting could pose to diabetics, research shows that more than 50 million people with diabetes continue to fast during Ramadan against the advice of healthcare professionals. As part of their initiative to understand the best ways to support diabetics who choose to fast, MSD undertook a study assessing 1,066 patients in 43 clinical centres across the Middle East.
Recognizing the critical role that healthcare professionals play in providing advice to diabetics who fast, in 2011 MSD launched a campaign to promote greater awareness about diabetics who choose to fast including the development of a new information kit for healthcare professionals to share and discuss with their patients. In Egypt, this information is expected to support more than 15% of the population who already suffer from diabetes.
The study, which was published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice last year,, showed that patients with Type 2 Diabetes who chose to fast during Ramadan and were taking JANUVIA® (sitagliptin) , JANUVIA reduced the risk of symptomatic hypoglycemia by 49% (67% in per-protocol population) relative to sulfonylurea treatment.
Talking about the results of the study, Ramsey Morad, Managing Director, MSD in Egypt, said, “The results of this study are extremely important. Hypoglycaemia is a condition that can greatly impact the lives of people with Type 2 Diabetes and a common problem faced by diabetics who fast. Diabetes can result in serious complications and even death when not properly managed. According to the latest IDF results, more than 65,000 Egyptians die each year² as a result of diabetes and its complications.”
Building on the 2011 study, this year MSD has introduced a new and innovative tool to provide greater support to Egyptian diabetics who choose to fast: a patient information kit “Facts About Fasting”.
Discussing the potential dangers that Egyptian diabetics could face when fasting and the importance of the information kit, Dr. Mohamed Tawfik Khattab, Professor of Internal Medicine at Cairo University and consultant of Internal Medicine and Diabetes in the New Kasr El-Aini Hospital, “For people with Type 2 Diabetes, decreased food intake, increased exercise, along with certain diabetes medications, are well-known risk factors for hypoglycaemia. If left untreated, it can lead to serious medical problems including loss of consciousness, convulsions and seizures, which require emergency treatment. Being able to record sugar levels throughout the day is extremely important and will allow physicians to better support diabetics in the management of their disease to ensure they don’t put themselves at risk of hypoglycemia or other diabetic complications.”
Khattab went on to add, “Obesity, coupled with increased sedentary lifestyles and lower levels of physical activity are known to be the major reasons for the development and exacerbation of Type 2 Diabetes. With the information kit, Egyptian diabetics will have a better opportunity to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, allowing them to better manage their weight and reduce the possibility of diabetes-related complications which obese diabetics are at increased risk of developing.”
MSD’s study marks the first research conducted in the Middle East for people fasting during Ramadan and is a crucial part of the company’s philosophy that raising awareness can reduce the prevalence of serious diseases like diabetes. Currently, around 7,323 people in 100,000 Egyptians suffer from diabetes. According to the latest IDF figures, if prevalence continues to increase at current rates it will have almost doubled by 2030 to reach 12,374 in every 100,000.
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