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Managing blood glucose levels during Ramadan

Hamza shares his experiences of fasting when you have type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetic Hamza outside at an event wearing a tuxedo jacket and bow tie

Hamza Yousaf, a 24-year-old Paralegal from Leeds, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five, talks about how he manages the condition during Ramadan.

Managing type 1 diabetes during Ramadan

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims from all corners of the earth fast between sunrise and sunset.

The daily routine for a Muslim during Ramadan consists of waking up before sunrise and eating, then consuming no food or water all day until eating again after sunset.

This year Ramadan is taking place in April and May, and as a result of the longer days the time period for the fasting can be more than a staggering 17 hours a day. I currently work between 9am and 5pm.

For someone with type 1 diabetes who is a Muslim, this is where the control of my diabetes really gets tested.

So, how do I manage my type 1 diabetes during Ramadan? Well, at sunrise, when the fast closes, I try to eat a slow-releasing carbohydrate in order to give my blood glucose levels the best chance of remaining stable throughout the day.

However, as you will probably already know, blood glucose levels when you have type 1 diabetes can be unpredictable at times, so this does not always work.

So, whenever I have a hypo in Ramadan (and I have had a few) I break my fast and try to keep one the next day, with no hard feelings as scholars have argued that it is permissible to break your fast in these circumstances.

I also like to keep my blood glucose levels slightly on the high side in Ramadan and then around five hours before the fast opens I take a correction dose of insulin to ensure my blood glucose levels are stable.


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