Staying well during Ramadan
Most of us get busy in celebrating the holy month of Ramadan in special ways, and of course, preparing for Eid, which is just around the corner. Due to changes in timing in our routines, it becomes a difficult task to maintain regular timing for medication, exercise and taking care of ourselves in general. This is especially for people suffering from chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, arthritis etc. Some patients find it very difficult to maintain their medications during fasting, and end up getting sick. Here are a few tips to maintain all the timings and proper diet during this period.
Patients suffering from diabetes who take insulin twice a day should take their insulin at sehri and iftar. The dose should be adjusted according to the size of your meal. Any medication which needs to be taken three times daily can be taken at sehri, iftari, and just before bed. If a patient requires antibiotics, their doctor can prescribe drugs which can be taken once daily. There are disagreements about whether eye, ear, and nose drops can be used during Ramadan. These drops may enter the oral cavity through different routes, and we can certainly taste the bitterness. However, as these provide no nutrition whatsoever, I think it is okay to use them during the day. Otherwise, they can be used after breaking the fast. Drops are an important part of treatment for patients with glaucoma, allergic rhinitis, and some ear infections.
Of course, patients with diabetes should follow a diabetic diet. As it's going to be a long and hot day, lots of hydration is needed. We tend to drink sweetened cold juices as we think it will cool us down, but most people end up with colds, sore throat and runny nose. So it is best to avoid drinking anything too cold. Fresh fruit juice or lassi with unsweetened yogurt can be made for diabetics, with maybe a little bit of salt to increase the taste. Sugar is not a good sweetener as it is considered bad for health, so honey, molasses, or brown sugar can be used as a healthy alternate instead. Vegetables like cucumber and gourd have a lot of fluid and fibre and are very palatable and good for health. Fried foods are best avoided as they increase the chance of hyperacidity as well as contribute to weight gain. Instead of frying in oil, try to bake some instead.
Exercise is a very important factor for patients with diabetes, hypertension, arthritis etc. and can be continued even during Ramadan, in consultation with the doctor. As most people get a bit tired while fasting, walking can be done twice instead of going out once for an hour-long stretch, like half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening after iftar. Also, instead of intense exercise, some low impact exercises/yoga can be done.
It's a good thing to listen to your body and, if needed, consult with your physician about your fitness for fasting. We want to make sure all of us remain healthy throughout the whole month and celebrate a joyous Eid with our loved ones.