Ramadan 2023: 5 ways you can enjoy Iftar if you have diabetes
Imagine the smell of freshly baked bread, the sizzle of spiced meats on the grill, and the sight of vibrant colors and flavors bursting from every dish. That is what Iftar is all about. However, the festival of Ramadan is more than just the food. With Ramadan quickly approaching and’iftari’ preparations on the mind, it becomes important to consider how to best help people with diabetes and their caregivers to celebrate the festival to its fullest. Navigating one’s fast can be tricky – it involves a drastic change in routine and lifestyle, which can make it difficult for people to keep their glucose levels in range through the day.
Checking your glucose levels more frequently is a must, and there are more ways to do this in the comfort of your own homes. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) wearable devices, like FreeStyle Libre, provide a simple option for people with diabetes to access real-time glucose readings and trends, such as while you were fasting or at the time of Iftar. This is all while avoiding the pain of pinpricks that come with traditional glucose testing options.
Dr. Sambit Das, Sr. Consultant Endocrinologist, Apollo Hospital, Bhubaneswar said, “For people with controlled diabetes, there are steps they can take to manage their sugar levels, especially while fasting for long periods during Ramadan. There are several healthy eating habits people should follow for the periods between ‘sehri’ and ‘iftar’. Don’t forget to monitor your blood sugar during your fast; you can do this effortlessly while on the go as there are now Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) device options available in addition to conventional blood glucose metres that require finger pricking. Taking one’s doctor’s advice is also important to understand any changes required with their medication.”
During your fast, employing metrics like time in range through CGM device can be extremely helpful when it comes to managing diabetes. Time in range is the percentage of time one’s glucose levels are within a specified range (typically 70 – 180 mg/dl). Checking your blood sugar readings more often is associated with a greater time in range, which can improve your glucose control and reduce the risk of long-term health complications. One should aim to be in range for about 17 out of 24 hours each day. Besides this, there are a few key things people with diabetes should keep in mind while celebrating Ramadan.