While fasting during the holy month of Ramzan is an important spiritual practice for Muslims all over the world, diabetes patients need to take special precautions to avoid the risks of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia), high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) and dehydration. Doctors roll out a list of do’s and don’ts for chronic diabetes patients who are fasting during this period.
Now, in this age of smartphone apps, fasting diabetics need not fix an appointment with their doctors. Necessary advice on how to avoid health hazards is available with just a few taps.
Pharmaceutical major Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp has created an app called ‘Ramadan, Diabetes and Me’ that guide diabetics during this period of fasting with the help of, among other things, a blood sugar tracker and tips for diabetes management. It is specifically designed to address the specific challenges faced by the millions of people with type 2 diabetes who choose to fast during Ramzan. The app is available for smartphones running Android and iOS (that is, for Apple phones) operating systems, and can be had in three languages – English, Hindi and Arabic.
The month-long changes in meal times, food, usage of medication and daily lifestyle can affect diabetics. While fasting, they face a high risk of hypoglycemia, especially when on certain anti-diabetic medicines. Glucose levels can drop, resulting in symptoms like sweating, dizziness and irritability. When severe, hypoglycemia can also result in mental confusion, antagonistic behaviour, unconsciousness, and even seizures, which makes it necessary to monitor the blood sugar level while fasting.
The app comes with the following features:
- Daily prayer and sunset times
- Qibla compass to locate prayer direction, based on the user's location
- Blood sugar tracker for patients to track and report glucose levels to their doctor
- Alarm settings for beginning and concluding daily fast (suhr and iftar)
- Questions to ask one’s doctor in preparation for fasting during Ramzan
With the use of this app, one can keep track of their blood glucose levels and at the same time also have important medical information handy. The purpose of the app is to help keep patients better controlled while they participate in the important spiritual practice
Written by Anushtup Haldar for Team M3.tv
Feature image: Google Play store (screenshots of the app)