Fasting has several connotations. In general terms, fasting is the abstinence from or reduction in or elimination of particular foods and/or drinks from diet for a period of time. In medical context, fasting is the metabolic state of a person who has not eaten for a period of at least 8 – 12 hours since the last meal.
Fasting has several applications. It may be ordered in the medically prior to certain medical investigation or laboratory procedures such as lipid panel and some surgical procedures. Fasting is also an important spiritual aspect for many religions, such as Islam, Hinduism and Judaism and for some Christians.
However, “random” fasting can be deleterious for people living with diabetes, because they can develop lots of complications such as very low or high blood sugars which is consistently discouraged by medical professionals for all persons diagnosed of diabetes. In the course of fasting, very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or very high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) may lead to hospitalization and especially in people with type 1 diabetes hypoglycemia secondary to fasting may increase death rate by 2 – 4%.
Moreover, people with type 2 diabetes have about five times increased incidence of severe high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) requiring hospitalization. Persons with type 1 diabetes are especially at risk of diabetic ketoacidosis when they fast for an extended period of time. You may also face the danger of dehydration and thrombosis (thickening and coagulation of the blood), a great risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
As a guide, if you want to fast despite all the health threats that comes with it, then daily blood glucose monitoring would be necessary. A blood sugar reading of 3.3 mmol/L (60 mg/dl) or less during whiles fasting should serve as a warning for you to break your fast immediately. It is important that before your decision to fast, you report to your doctor and dietician for medical examination for a possible change in diet plan and or medication regimen.
By Amenyah Seth, LD, RD.
CEO of Diet Care Clinic GH
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +233 (0) 244 832 997
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