Plan ahead for Ramadan

Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging the local Muslim community to take care of their health whilst fasting for Ramadan. This year the holy month starts at the end of June, although the date and time can vary depending on sighting of the new moon.

Managing your medication throughout this period is vital in maintaining your health, as fasting could cause complications. People with diabetes, high blood pressure and any other condition that requires regular medication to be taken should speak to their local GP before the start of Ramadan.

Medicines that are suitable to take during the holy month include; injections through the skin, muscles, veins and joints, ear drops and eye drops, patches where the medicine is absorbed through the skin.

Dr Caz Sayer, a local GP and Camden CCG Chair, said:

“You should continue to take your medication as prescribed until you see your GP. It is possible to take your medicines during fasting, or your GP could change your prescription. If you have diabetes you should monitor your blood glucose levels to maintain your health. Testing your blood glucose levels does not break your fast.

“We also advise high blood pressure patients to invest in a blood pressure monitor at home. This allows people to check their pressure daily. If you think there is an irregularity, please seek medical help.

“People who have an illness or medical condition of any kind that makes fasting damaging to their health are exempt from fasting.”

As Ramadan begins in summer, the period of fasting is longer and can increase the risk of dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include; body aches, cramps, dizziness and exhaustion.

Dr Caz Sayer advises:

“The weather can play a part in increasing the symptoms of exhaustion whilst fasting. It’s important that you take all precautions during summer and avoid long periods of time in the sun. If you need to go outside for any length of time remember to bring an umbrella and sit in the shade.

“We encourage people to rehydrate after Iftar and before Suhoor. It is especially important to avoid all types of caffeinated drinks, and drink water during this period.”

“Eating a balanced diet during the non-fasting hours is also essential in managing your health during Ramadan. This helps to keep your body functioning during the fasting hours. Foods that release energy slowly such as carbohydrates and protein will help in maintaining energy levels.

“The NHS Live Well website (http://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/) is a great tool for meal ideas. The meal plan includes ingredients from the five major food groups.”

During Ramadan, Muslims are prohibited to smoke while fasting. Whilst this may be a daunting prospect, accessing support to quit smoking has never been easier. Visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree to receive your Free Quit Kit. Local GPs and pharmacies are also here to support people to successfully stop smoking for Ramadan and beyond. Alternatively, you can contact the Stop Smoking Service on 0800 093 9030.

If you are not registered with a GP you can find details of your nearest practice by visiting www.nhs.uk

For more information about health and Ramadan visit www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthyramadan