Background: Over one billion Muslims fast worldwide during the month of Ramadan. Fasting during Ramadan is a radical change in lifestyle for the period of a lunar month, and it might affect the biochemical parameters among diabetic patients.
Aim: This study aimed to investigate the effect of Ramadan fasting on the blood levels of glucose, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), and lipid profile among diabetic patients observing fast during the Ramadan.
Patients and methods: An observational study recruiting 1301 Muslim diabetic patients above 18 years age was conducted in diabetic outpatient clinic of Hamad General Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, and Primary Health Care Center, Qatar, from July 2012 to September 2013. Data on sociodemographic characteristics (age, sex, nationality, marital status, education level, and occupation) and lifestyle habits (smoking and physical activity), blood pressures, and anthropometric measurements were obtained by a face-to-face interview and measurement using a structured questionnaire. Blood samples were collected for testing glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C), lipid profile, urea, and creatinine (by the licensed research assistants).
Results: Slightly less than half of the participants were overweight (BMI: 25-29.9). Significantly higher proportion of female participants were obese as compared with male participants (P<0.001). Among both male participants and female participants, the average level of blood glucose, HbA1c, total cholesterol, low-density and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, albumin, bilirubin, uric acid, and systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly lower during the Ramadan as compared with before Ramadan (P<0.001 each).
Conclusion: Results revealed that fasting during Ramadan is significantly associated with decrease in blood lipid profile, blood pressures, glucose, and HbA1C level among diabetic patients. Muslim diabetic patients after the consultation of their primary physician can fast during the month of Ramadan and it might be beneficial for their health.