The Muslim population in the UK is estimated to be approximately 1.6 million, and it is estimated that around one in five (325,000) have diabetes.
Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam; most Muslim adults will choose to fast during this month.1 Fasting includes omitting food, liquids and medication between dawn and sunset.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which follows the lunar calendar so the fasting month moves forward by approximately 10 days each year. The length of the fast therefore changes according to the time of year when Ramadan falls. The fast is between dawn and sunset, so the length of the fast increases in the summer months.1 In the UK, a fast may last up to 19 hours in summer and up to 10 hours in winter.
Most Muslims will have a meal before dawn (suhur) and a meal after sunset (iftar).
In 2013, Ramadan begins on 9 July and ends on 7 August.
Who needs to fast?
There is a lack of evidence to guide the management of people with diabetes who wish to fast during Ramadan. It is recommended that each patient is considered on an individual basis and advice tailored accordingly. Achieving good glycaemic control prior to Ramadan makes control easier while fasting.2