London, Jan 22: British Muslims with diabetes need more healthcare support during the holy month of Ramadan, new research led by an Indian-origin woman has advised.
Neesha Patel, lead author of the research, published in the journal, Health Expectations from the University of Manchester, said British Muslims with diabetes would like support and advice from their general practitioner (GP) on fasting safely, provided they were trained, emphatic and understood the significance of Ramadan for Muslims with diabetes.
There are around three million diabetic people in Britain , and a further 850,000 who have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes.
It is six times more common in the South Asian population and four times more common among Bangladeshi and Pakistani groups than the general British population.
Recent figures suggest approximately 0.35 million Muslims have diabetes in the country.
Short-term risks of fasting include poor diabetes control and dehydration.
Five type-2 diabetes patients on insulin, who were interviewed said they did not fast and perceived it as a threat to their diabetes.
But some patients reported they were pressured by their families to fast as well as admitting to guilt and embarrassment at not fasting.
Some reported eating their daytime meals in secret or when other family were not in the house.
“Although the Islamic law states that the ‘sick’ can be exempt from fasting for one or all 30 days, the majority of Muslim respondents with diabetes do not perceive themselves as ‘sick’ and therefore choose to fast,” Patel said in a statement.
“We found many British Muslims we interviewed did not bring the topic up with their GP or practice nurse or avoided their surgery altogether that month for fear of being told not to fast.”
During Ramadan, Muslim people only eat two meals a day, once before sunrise (sehar) and once after sunset (iftar).