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Ramadan and your health

Ramadan is an Islamic holy month where Muslims all over the world take part in fasting. This year Ramadan will be starting around 27 May, which means a longer period from dawn until dusk.

Doctors at NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are encouraging local residents to stay safe and well during this period. As the fast lasts from dawn to dusk, at this time of the year that means nearly 19 hours of no food or drink passing the lips.

Dr Pervez Muzzafar, a local GP and clinical lead at both CCGs, said:

“During this period of spiritual reflection, anyone suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, lung diseases, arthritis etc, or those taking medications, require more planning and discipline to observe the fast.

Seeking advice about your disease and medications is extremely important so that your doses can be assessed. This is because, medication can accumulate in your body making it dangerous if your doses are not spaced out properly e.g. tramadol MR for arthritis or MR or SR tablets for blood pressure.

Make sure you have two meals a day, at sehr and iftar, and also avoid deep fried food and high sugar desserts. You can replace these foods with plenty of fruit, fibre and fluid to keep well hydrated and energetic.”

Some people also find that Ramadan is a good time to consider stopping smoking for good or making permanent changes to their diet long-term to help with healthy eating and weight loss.

The key to maintaining health during Ramadan, especially if it takes place during warm weather, is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water when not fasting. Excessive caffeine should be avoided.

Signs of dehydration to look out for include producing little or no urine, feeling faint, disorientated or confused and having a persistent and severe headache.

Both CCGs advise that if you feel ill during your fast, make sure you seek medical help as soon as possible and do not leave it for too late, especially if you are diabetic or suffer from kidney diseases. If you are in any doubt, please consult your pharmacist or GP to avoid any complications. Have a very happy and healthy Ramadan from both Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire CCGs.