Volunteer helping Muslims with diabetes

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A volunteer from Bradwell Common is part of a group leading the way in rolling out an innovative new project that aims to help Muslims with diabetes fast safely through Ramadan.

Abdul Rais advised in the development of an online presentation for people to use in their community to raise awareness about the issues around fasting through Ramadan.

People with diabetes do not have to fast during Ramadan, but if they wish to do so they are encouraged to speak to their Imam and healthcare professional.

Abdul Rais, 61, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1999

He said: “There are many people who believe that it is compulsory for them to fast even though they have diabetes. Islam offers an alternative to fasting for those with the condition however some people are unaware of what constitutes an appropriate balanced diet during this religious observance.

“This is why this type of advice is so important so people are able to make informed food choices during Ramadan”

Jenne Patel, Diabetes UK Equality and Diversity Manager, said: “Although Muslims who have diabetes do not have to fast, many will choose to and our website has videos of two of our volunteers talking about their personal reasons to fast. The major problem during the fast is the potential onset of hypoglycemia, also known as a “hypo”, when the body’s glucose levels fall too low. Those who chose to fast should eat food that is absorbed relatively slowly, such as basmati rice, pitta bread, chapattis and dhal, before they begin the fast.

“Choosing these types of foods and fruits and vegetables will help keep blood glucose levels more even during the course of the fast. It’s important to check blood glucose levels more frequently than usual so that people can, if necessary, break the fast if their blood glucose level drops too low. Many Muslims think that testing blood is considered breaking the fast, but this is not the case.

“How people break their fast is also important. It’s a good idea to break the fast with a handful of dates and a glass of milk or water. Chose healthier options such as vegetables and fruit. They should also try to eat these kinds of foods again towards the end of the feasting period, just before sunrise, and they should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.”

For more information about fasting throughout Ramadan and to watch the presentation visit www.diabetes.org.uk.