FASTING AND DIABETES

Millions of people around the world choose to fast for religious observances or for health reasons.

For people with diabetes, however, there are potential risks associated with fasting.

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Decreased food intake can increase the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). If left untreated, hypoglycemia can get worse and cause problems, including confusion, clumsiness, fainting, seizures and coma.
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An increase in food and/or sugar intake (for instance, if overeating after a day of fasting) or a reduction in medications to prevent hypoglycemia can increase the risk of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia).

People with diabetes who make the personal decision to fast should do so after careful consideration of the associated risks following ample discussion with their treating physician.

BEFORE BEGINNING A FAST, PEOPLE WITH DIABETES SHOULD:

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Seek medical advice one to two months before starting a fast.

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Speak to your healthcare professional about glucose monitoring, meal-planning, physical activity and dosage and timing of medications.

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Learn to recognize some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia, which may include sweating, dizziness, hunger and confusion.

BE PREPARED TO BREAK YOUR FAST IF YOUR BLOOD SUGAR IS:

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Less than 60 mg/dL (3.3 mmol/L)

Less than 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) in the first few hours after the start of fasting

Higher than 300 mg/dL (16.7 mmol/L)

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FACTS ABOUT FASTING DURING RAMADAN


MSD has developed The Facts About Fasting program to support people with type 2 diabetes who fast during Ramadan.

Read the Facts About Fasting During Ramadan information kit.