HMC advises diabetics to take precautions when fasting

June 25, 2014 12:22 pm

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is advising diabetics to take necessary precautions and to consult their physician before deciding to fast during the holy month of Ramadan. The decision to fast carries an assortment of potential risks and complications for individuals with diabetes.

Dr. Mahmoud Ali Zirie, Senior Consultant and Head of HMC’s Endocrinology, Diabetes Division, explained that diabetics who choose to fast during the holy month should obtain a medical assessment and specific advice on treatment and dietary adjustments.

“Diabetics who choose to fast need to be aware of the potential health risks. They must also be ready to adhere to the recommendations of their healthcare team in order to achieve a safer fasting experience,” said Dr. Zirie adding, “a medical assessment and educational counseling on physical activity, meal planning, glucose monitoring and dosage and timing of medications must be part of the process of preparing for Ramadan.”

Diabetes mellitus is a medical condition where the body fails to process blood sugar in a normal way. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide and some statistics indicate up to 20 percent of the world’s population is affected by the disease. Individuals with poorly controlled diabetes and elderly patients who require insulin, children under the age of puberty and those who are acutely ill or frail are generally advised not to fast.

Fasting is also not recommended for pregnant women who need insulin and for breastfeeding mothers, whether they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. While most type 2 diabetics are able to fast without complication, Dr. Zirie cautioned that some dietary and treatment adjustments are usually required.

“Individuals with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, who choose to fast should keep a watchful eye on their health and should monitor their blood glucose regularly and frequently,” said Dr. Zirie.

As part of its commitment to providing the safest, most effective and compassionate care, HMC recently launched a diabetes public awareness campaign. The campaign aims to improve the population’s overall health through raising awareness on the risk factors associated with the development of diabetes and through promoting healthy lifestyle choices.

Tips and information about living well with diabetes during Ramadan, and throughout the rest of the year, are also available at

In recent years, HMC has continued to improve the provision of care for people with diabetes in Qatar. A new National Diabetes Center was opened in July 2013 at Hamad General Hospital to provide improved patient care for Qatar’s diabetic population; the center provides access to highly individualized care through the co-location of disciplines and services, including vascular, eye and foot clinics alongside the services of diabetes educators, nutritionists and a dedicated pharmacy service.