Diabetes Management During Times of Religious Fasting / Ramadan

Zoobia Chaudhry, M.D.
Diabetes Management During Times of Religious Fasting / Ramadan is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins Diabetes Guide.

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  • Fasting is considered one of the five pillars of Islam.
  • Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar-based Islamic calendar. The duration varies between 29 to 30 days.
  • Fasting in the month of Ramadan is considered obligatory for Muslims with some exceptions (i.e. serious illness or traveling).
  • The fasting day starts with dawn and ends at sunset.
  • Fasting consists of completely refraining from eating and drinking.
  • It is part of the Ramadan tradition that the family wakes up before dawn to have a meal. Over indulgence in food rich in carbohydrates and saturated fat (depending on the local culture) at breaking of the fast is common.
  • In the month of Ramadan, Muslims also increase the amount of nightly prayers, charity and recitation of Quran (Holy book of Muslims).
  • Other non-obligatory fasting days that many Muslims may choose to observe throughout the year include:
    • Mondays and Thursdays
    • 13-15th days of each lunar month throughout the year
    • 6 days in the month of Shaban (10th month of Islamic calendar)
    • First 9 days of Dhu al Hijjah ("The Month of the Pilgrimage" - 12th month of Islamic calendar)
    • 2 days around 10th of Muharram (first month of Islamic calendar).

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Last updated: July 7, 2016