SINGAPORE – Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan can be difficult for diabetics who risk their blood sugar levels rising or falling if they don’t do it properly.
A new guide to fasting for diabetics compiled by the nonprofit Diabetes Singapore hopes to change that.
The booklet contains seven tips on how to fast for diabetics safely, including information on portion control and the best times to test blood sugar levels. It is available in both English and Malay and is sold in mosques across the country.
The initiative is part of a broader campaign called the Special Education in Diabetes and Awareness Program – Sedap for short – to raise awareness of diabetes in the Malay community.
“It’s pretty timely because Ramadan is just around the corner,” said Parliamentary Health Minister Rahayu Mahzam, one of the leaders of a new working group set up to improve the health of ethnic minorities in Singapore. Around 14.4 percent of Malaysians and 14.2 percent of Indians have diabetes, compared with 8.2 percent of Chinese.
“In fact, it is often the best time for us to promote and encourage healthy behavior (because) people are more reflective and also look into the health components of fasting,” said Ms. Rahayu.
She spoke to reporters on the sidelines of an event at the Our Tampines Hub that aimed to raise awareness about diabetes and its complications.
As part of the Sedap campaign, a series of lectures and courses will also help diabetics of all ethnicities better manage their health. These include cooking classes and educational talks designed to help people reverse pre-diabetes or develop new habits.
During the event, Diabetes Singapore signed a three-year contract with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to help people with diabetes detect complications as early as possible.
The company will provide the technology needed to quickly and easily screen patients for chronic kidney disease, a complication to which people with diabetes can be prone.
“We want to make sure we test patients early to look for early signs of disease progression,” said Vinod Narayanan, country president of AstraZeneca Singapore.
“Our goal is to find patients early, give them early advice so they can change their diet, and seek medical advice before the disease progresses to a later stage.”