Ramadan, the ninth month of Islamic lunar calendar, is marked by religious ritual of fasting from early dawn till sunset by Muslims. Islam has allowed many categories of people to be exempt totally or temporarily from fasting. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes face possible major metabolic risks including hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia with or without the risk of impending ketosis, dehydration, and thrombosis. Diabetics can be stratified into four categories based on their level of risk associated with fasting. The recommended ruling for persons in categories 1 and 2 is that they are prohibited from fasting to prevent harming themselves based on the certainty or the preponderance of probability that harm will occur, whereas the recommended ruling for those in categories 3 and 4 is that they should fast. The strategies to ensure safety of diabetics who are planning to fast include Ramadan-focused patient education, pre-Ramadan medical assessment, following a healthy diet and physical activity pattern, physician-recommended modifications in medication protocol and therapeutic recommendations and checking blood glucose as and when required.
Keywords: As-Saum; Diabetes Mellitus; Iftar; exemption; risk-stratification; safety strategies; suhur.