Aim: Ramadan fasting represents a major shift in meal timing and content for practicing Muslims. This study used continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) to assess changes in markers of glycaemic excursions during Ramadan fasting to investigate the short-term safety of this practice in different groups of patients with diabetes.
Methods: A total of 63 subjects (56 with diabetes, seven healthy volunteers; 39 male, 24 female) had CGM performed during, before and after Ramadan fasting. Mean CGM curves were constructed for each group for these periods that were then used to calculate indicators of glucose control and excursions. Post hoc data analyses included comparisons of different medication categories (metformin/no medication, gliptin, sulphonylurea and insulin). Medication changes during Ramadan followed American Diabetes Association guidelines.
Result: Among patients with diabetes, there was a significant difference in mean CGM curve during Ramadan, with a slow fall during fasting hours followed by a rapid rise in glucose level after the sunset meal (iftar). The magnitude of this excursion was greatest in the insulin-treated group, followed by the sulphonylurea-treated group. Markers of control deteriorated in a small number (n=3) of patients. Overall, whether fasting or non-fasting, subjects showed no statistically significant changes in mean interstitial glucose (IG), mean amplitude of glycaemic excursion (MAGE), high and low blood glucose indices (HBGI/LBGI), and number of glucose excursions and rate of hypoglycaemia.
Conclusion: The main change in glycaemic control with Ramadan fasting in patients with diabetes is in the pattern of excursions. Ramadan fasting caused neither overall deterioration nor improvement in the majority of patients with good baseline glucose control.
Keywords: CGM; Continuous glucose monitoring; Diabetes mellitus; Glucose; Muslim; Ramadan fasting.
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