Attitude and safety of patients with diabetes observing the Ramadan fast



      To describe the attitude of type 2 diabetes patients toward Ramadan fasting. A Secondary purpose was to describe rates of hypoglycemia during Ramadan according to type of treatment.


      A prospective, non-randomized study for 2 years. Participants with type 2 diabetes attending Dammam Diabetes Center, Saudi Arabia were stratified for fasting according to ADA recommendations. Results are presented using mean, standard deviation and percentages.


      Total of 360 participants with type 2 diabetes. Mean ± SD glycosylated hemoglobin was 8.9 ± 2.1. More than 80% of individuals were in the ADA higher risk group however, they all fasted Ramadan. The mean non-fasting days was 2.6 days and overall rate of hypoglycaemia was 24.7%. Both parameters were directly proportionate to the risk stratification level (P-value <0.05). Despite hypoglycaemia, 29.3% continued fasting.
      Hypoglycemia was highest in patients treated with insulin (P-value <0.05) followed by those treated with oral agents including sulphonylurea as compared to oral agents excluding sulfonylurea (P-value = 0.002). Those who experienced hypoglycemia prior to Ramadan had the highest rate of hypoglycemia during Ramadan (53.3%) (P-value = 0.0065).


      Despite medical advice, the vast majority of type 2 diabetes participants categorized as high risk, fasted Ramadan. Approximately one quarter of people with type 2 diabetes in our cohort experience hypoglycaemia and this was directly related to their fasting risk level. A sizeable proportion continued the fast despite hypoglycemic. Insulin therapy with or without oral agents and previous episodes of hypoglycemia before Ramadan predicted hypoglycemia risk during Ramadan. HbA1c and weight showed some clinical improvements post Ramadan fasting. This is a single center study of mostly high risk fasting patients and hence, these results should not be generalized.


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