GPs lead Ramadan diabetes campaign

GPs across the UK are leading meetings at local mosques to encourage people with type 2 diabetes to speak to their doctor if they plan to fast during Ramadan.

Diabetes patients who plan to fast during Ramadan are being asked to visit their GP (Photo: SPL)
Diabetes patients who plan to fast during Ramadan are being asked to visit their GP (Photo: SPL)

The 'Staying Healthy During Ramadan' campaign, organised by charity Silver Star, aims to raise awareness of the risks associated with type 2 diabetes and fasting ahead of the Islamic holy month, which starts in July.

Local doctors have already led four meetings at mosques in Leicester, Birmingham, Bradford and Rotherham this month. Events in Manchester, Cardiff and London will follow over the next two weeks.

Patients with type 2 diabetes who may want to fast during Ramadan are being encouraged to discuss with their GP how to manage their condition during this time.

Dr Wasim Hanif, diabetes clinical lead at the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, said: 'Many people of South Asian descent have an increased risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes and a high proportion of South Asian people are Muslim.

'Fasting during Ramadan can affect blood sugar levels as neither food nor drink is consumed between pre-sunrise and sunset over a 30 day period in July and early August. Long gaps between eating mean that the risk of experiencing low blood glucose levels is increased.'

Leicester GP Dr Azkhar Farooqi spoke at the city's event earlier this month, and said it was well attended.

He said: 'The majority of people [with diabetes] want to fast, and do fast, but they need to be careful around medication, including when they take it, and [know] a little bit around what they should eat.'

'What we want to try and avoid is severe hypoglycaemia, so patients end up calling an ambulance and going to A&E.'

Dr Farooqi and colleagues at Leicester Diabetes Centre also run education sessions for local GPs and practice nurses in the lead up to Ramadan. Further sessions will take place next week.

Ramadan begins on 9 July in the UK, subject to sighting of the moon, and lasts for 30 days.

Educational events will be held at the Manchester Central Mosque and at the South Wales Islamic Centre in Cardiff on Friday 21 June, followed by meetings at the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre and at the Harrow Central Mosque in London on Friday 28 June.

Nurses at the events will provide blood glucose tests using Silver Star's mobile diabetes units. Patients with hypo or hyperglycaemic blood samples can be advised on the safest way to observe Ramadan.

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