Many people with diabetes often come across this dilemma as almost everyone with diabetes knows the importance of healthy, well balanced & evenly spaced meals in successful management of diabetes.
People fast for variety of reasons- it may be some religious reason (i.e. Ramadan, Nav-ratri etc.), medical or dental procedure, so on and so forth.
For those who are on blood sugar lowering tablets / Insulin, fasting can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) while skipping insulin on the day of fast may cause hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels), dehydration & even can lead to Ketoacidosis specially in Type 1 diabetic patients.
If fasting is unavoidable, following simple precautions should be taken to prevent problems.
1. Consult your doctor / diabetes educator for adjusting your medicines / insulin dose.
2. Know signs & symptoms of hypoglycemia & action to be taken.
3. Check your blood sugar levels frequently (every 3 – 4 hourly) while you are on fast & especially when you feel symptoms of hypoglycemia.
4. STOP the fast immediately if blood sugar level drops below 70 mg/dL or goes above 300 mg/dL.
5. Carry sachets of 15 gram easy to digest carbohydrates (powdered sugar / glucose powder / honey / jam) ready while traveling or while on work.
6. Keep your medical identity card & emergency contact information handy (contact numbers of doctors, nearby hospital, close relatives etc)
7. Fasting can be an opportunity to detoxify your body! Use it wisely:
Foods to be included: Varai, Rajgira, All nuts, Whole Fruits, Cucumber, Plenty of fluids e.g. coconut water, buttermilk, lime water, green tea, milk.
Foods to be avoided: Starchy foods like Sago, Potato, Sweet Potato, Fried foods like Chip.Fruit Juices, carbonated beverages, sweets
8. Even if you are fasting have fruits, milk, buttermilk, nuts, coconut water every 2-3 hourly.
9. Avoid vigorous exercise & exhausting work on the day of fast.
10. Try to avoid fasting for more than 1 day as it can affect your blood sugar levels and lead to hypoglycemia and many other complications too. Best way will be to avoid fasting as much as possible. Eat Healthy Be Healthy!