Dr Usman: Take care of your health during Ramadan

Dr Kausar Usman is a Professor of Medicine in king George’s Medical University, UP.    

Here, He gives some tips to diabetic and blood pressure patients so that they can keep fast to avail the blessings of the fasts and simultaneously taking care of their health.

He quotes a verse from The Holy Qur’an:

“O you who believe! Observing the fast is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become the pious.” [Surat Al-Baqarah 183]

In the light of the above verse, Dr Usman says, this means that we are keeping fast since the times of Adam. People of all religions keep fast in some way or other.

There are challenges for people who are suffering from diseases like diabetes, blood pressure or heart problems.

Patients who should not keep fast:

Though it is a personal preference for a patient to keep fast or not according to his health. If there is a danger to a patient’s life then he should avoid fast; as it is mentioned in the Qur’an, “Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you, hardship.” [Surat Al-Baqarah, 185]

Allah has given some relaxations to those who are sick or in travel as mentioned in the Qur’an:

Observing Saum (fasts) for a fixed number of days. But if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man, etc.), they have a choice either to fast or) to feed a miskin (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know.” [Surat Al-Baqarah, 184]

In the light of the above verses, Dr Usman says, patients with type I diabetes, who take insulin more than twice a day or patients with hypoglycemia, whose sugar level drops down, or patients whose sugar level increases more than 250mg to 300mg, and diabetic patients with kidney problems, advance heart diseases, liver disease or stricken by cancer should avoid fasts.

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If these patients want to fast, then they should follow these precautions: First, diabetic patients should consult their doctors to adjust the dosage of their medicines. Especially, if they are taking insulin once or twice in a day. If a patient is taking only one tablet before breakfast or two tablets one before breakfast and one before dinner, then they must take only one tablet during Iftaar. Because in Ramazan, we do not take food throughout the day.

 Dr Usman strictly warns that the medicines should be adjusted with the advice of the doctor before a patient starts fasting.

Second, a patient should monitor the sugar level by testing blood to check whether it is under control or not. Sometimes, the sugar level goes below the normal level i.e.  70% and a patient feels weakness, his heart beat increases, he starts sweating and feels dizzy. These are the symptoms of hypoglycemia; he must break the fast.  If the sugar level increases more than 300 mg, in that case also the patient can break the fast.

 It should be noted that it is permissible to test the blood even during the fast.  

Food for the diabetic patients

First of all, the diabetic patients should eat just before the fasting time starts. They should not eat food very early during sahar.  If one does not have the facility to hear the call of the mu’azzan (azan), then he can keep alarm in mobile phones so that he can wake up on time for saheri.

A diabetic patient should take high fibrous diet like oats (dalia) green vegetables and fruits like papaya, pear, or orange. Patients MUST avoid oily things, like samosa, pakoda, etc. because it increases thirst and as it is summer, there is a danger of dehydration.

On inquiring whether a diabetic patient can break his fast with dates (khajoor); Dr Usman replies, “yes, they can break the fast with dates, but only one date is recommended. Generally, a diabetic can continue taking food as he takes in normal days and as advised by his doctor so that his sugar level should be in control and also he can continue his fasts.”

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He says it is not good to eat more than the quantity they eat in normal days. It is better for their health if they eat less than normal days. 

Patients with low blood pressure (BP)

It has been observed that the BP level of low BP patients usually comes down during Ramazan. So, this is good opportunity to control your BP without medicines. But, a patient MUST take his doctor’s advice to adjust his medicines.

Dr Usman further adds that Fast is an ibadah as well as a blessing for your health. When you keep fast, there are some physical and medical benefits. First, it is helpful for BP patients, secondly if you have obesity, which is the sign of many diseases, can be controlled easily by keeping fasts. Another thing, you can improve immunity and fasts protect you from cancer.

According to research, it is found that people who eat less or keep fasts live longer. So Ramazan is a good opportunity to improve your fitness. Fasts, strengthen your determination and will power. This is an opportunity to quit bad habits like smoking, tobacco chewing, gudka, etc. It should be remembered that in our country there are many patients of asthama, bronchitis, cancer, Says Dr Usman.

He says, let us pledge during this Ramazan that we will quit all the habits that are harmful for our health.

At the end, Dr Usman advises to follow strictly the rules laid by the government by avoiding gatherings, making congregation prayers or iftaar in the mosques. He says, the lockdown is the best opportunity to pray in loneliness.

He quotes a Hadith of Prophet (may peace be upon him) who said, if you have dined stomach full and your neighbor slept hungry you are accountable on the Day of Judgement. It is your obligation to check whether there is any unprivileged in your neighborhood who may need food, clothing or any other necessary things. He requests us to help all without differentiating between the religion, caste and creed. This is what Islam teaches us.

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