Top tips for managing diabetes while fasting during Ramadan

Caitlin Parker

Here are our tops tips from Caitlin, one of our Credentialled Diabetes Educator Dietitians, for fasting with diabetes (if you choose to fast).

Monitor your blood sugar levels

The main concern about fasting for people with diabetes is that their blood sugar will drop too low (hypoglycemia). It is important to monitor your blood glucose levels closely during this time.

Testing blood glucose levels regularly during this time is important, even if you use a continuous or flash glucose monitor (CGM) (e.g. Freestyle Libre, Medtronic Guardian or Dexcom). It's important to note that CGM monitors the amount of glucose in your interstitial fluid, not your blood, so is affected by hydration. If you are dehydrated, your CGM may be inaccurate.

Check your medications

Most people with type 2 diabetes can safely fast during Ramadan, however, there are some medications which can increase your risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) particularly if you are eating less carbohydrate than usual.  

You may be able to change the time or the dose of your medication during Ramadan, but it is important not to stop taking your medication.

You should discuss your medications with your GP, Pharmacist or Diabetes Educator.

Adjust your insulin, as required.

Some people who take insulin may need to decrease the dose while fasting, especially if you take any mealtime insulin. Mealtime insulin will likely be covering any carbohydrate you eat at meals. If you aren’t eating any carbohydrate during the day, you may not need to take any mealtime insulin.

If you lose weight because of fasting, your insulin doses might need to be adjusted.

Your GP or Diabetes Educator can help you work out a plan for adjusting your insulin during fasting.

Food choices are still important

The change in eating pattern due to fasting could cause greater swings in your blood glucose levels. Good nutrition is particularly important during this time.

Continue to choose low GI carbohydrates, protein rich foods and include plenty of vegetables. Drink plenty of fluid to remain hydrated.

More information?

Diabetes Australia have a great resource on managing diabetes during Ramadan. https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/blog/diabetes-during-ramadan/  

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