Religious fasting with diabetes: Fasting during festivals is a part of many cultures. Do you know that fasting (along with spiritual practice) helps maintain our physical and mental balance? A large number of people observe fast in Navratri, Shivratri and even Ramadan. But people who have diabetes and high blood pressure should be aware of the health complications of fasting. Chief Nutritionist and Diabetes Educator at Medanta the Medicity Gurugram, Shubhada Bhanot, shares how people with diabetes need to pay more attention to health because such people can have the following complications during fasting: 

Low sugar or hypoglycemia

During fasting, people have to remain empty stomach for several hours compared to regular days, which results in hypoglycemia. This situation can prove to be dangerous. Symptoms of low sugar can be easily identified. Some symptoms usually begin when blood sugar comes down to 70 mg/dl or below, such as - sudden sweating, weakness or tremors in the body, rapid heartbeat, etc. Hypoglycemia or reduction in blood sugar can be overcome by taking honey, sugar and glucose.

Hyperglycemia or high sugar 

People with diabetes are at risk of increased sugar during fasting. This is because fasting diets are usually high in carbohydrates and fats, such as fried dumplings, potatoes etc. These types of foods increase the sugar of people with diabetes. In addition, some people are also seen avoiding drugs and insulin injections; thus, the level of sugar increases during the fast. 

Expert tips for fasting

  1. Those with type two diabetes can fast with a balanced diet and exercise. In addition, diabetes or high blood pressure can keep you healthy by taking some precautions during fasting. 
  2. Diabetes and high blood pressure patients must consult a doctor before fasting as the doctor may change the dose of their medicines. 
  3. Diabetic and high blood pressure patients should strictly avoid potatoes, peanuts, chips, papad and puri-kachori etc., during fast. This is because the above foods are high in fat and salt. 
  4. When diabetes patients observe fast, in addition to increasing sugar, the risk of dehydration increases. In such a situation, liquids should be taken throughout the day. 
  5. Diabetes patients can eat fruits, almonds, walnuts and roasted makhana at a regular interval. 
  6. Diabetes patients dependent on medication or insulin therapy should necessarily check blood sugar three to four times a day. In addition, sugar can be regularly checked at home during a fast through a glucometer.