Recommendations for Management of Diabetes During Ramadan
Since our last publication about diabetes and fasting during Ramadan (1), we have received many inquires and comments concerning important issues that were not discussed in the previous document, including the voluntary 1- to 2-day fasts per week that many Muslims practice throughout the year, as well as the effect of prolonged fasting (more than 18 h a day) in regions far from the equator during Ramadan when it occurs in summer—a phenomenon expected to affect millions worldwide for the next 10–15 years. Since 2005, there have been substantial additions to the literature, including two studies examining the effect of structured education and support for safe fasting, both of which had promising results (2,3). In addition, new medications, such as the incretin-based therapies, have been introduced with less risk for hypoglycemia.
According to a 2009 demographic study, Islam has 1.57 billion adherents, making up 23% of the world population of 6.8 billion, and is growing by ∼3% per year (4). Fasting during Ramadan, a holy month of Islam, is a duty for all healthy adult Muslims. The high global prevalence of type 2 diabetes—6.6% among adults age 20–79 years (5)—coupled with the results of the population-based Epidemiology of Diabetes and Ramadan 1422/2001 (EPIDIAR) study, which demonstrated among 12,243 people with diabetes from 13 Islamic countries that ∼43% of patients with type 1 diabetes and ∼79% of patients with type 2 diabetes fast during Ramadan (6), lead to the estimate that worldwide more than 50 million people with diabetes fast during Ramadan.
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