A campaign is being launched to educate the community about dealing with type 2 diabetes during the month of Ramadhan.

MSD has partnered with charities Silver Star and the South Asian Health Foundation to launch the educational campaign – ‘Staying Healthy During Ramadan’.

In addition, it seeks to raise awareness of the different management options available to people with type 2 diabetes, who wish to fast during Ramadan.

Through a series of regional educational events held at mosques and hosted by healthcare professionals (see below for details), the ‘Staying Healthy During Ramadan’ campaign aims to encourage people with type 2 diabetes to consult their healthcare professional before making a decision to fast during Ramadan.

• Many people of Asian descent have an increased risk of suffering from some form of diabetes. A high proportion of Asian people are Muslim.1 According to healthcare professionals, most people with type-2 diabetes are exempt from fasting.

• Fasting can affect blood sugar levels, as food is not consumed throughout the day.2 Long gaps between food intake along with certain diabetes medications are well-known risk factors for hypoglycaemia.3 • Hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar, occurs when the level of glucose in the blood drops too low, below the “normal” minimum blood plasma levels of 4 mmol/l.4 • Symptoms of hypoglycaemia (or a ‘hypo’) can include blurred vision, anxiety and loss of concentration,4 Hypoglycaemia is a common concern for people with diabetes.

Dr Malde Modhwadia, Silver Star, said, “The ‘Staying Healthy During Ramadan’ campaign aims to highlight the need for dialogue between patients and healthcare professionals around Ramadan.

"We want to ensure people with type 2 diabetes in the Muslim community are aware of the potential risks associated with fasting during Ramadan and ensure they realise that opting out of fasting is possible, if health is a concern.”

Dr Wasim Hanif, South Asian Health Foundation, comments, “For people with diabetes, deciding to fast during Ramadan is a personal decision.

"People with diabetes should consult their healthcare professional at least one month before Ramadan begins, so that a medical assessment can be undertaken and any alterations to medication or lifestyle can be made.”

On 22 June an educational session will be hosted by Dr Azhar Farooqi at the MKSI Leicester Community Centre, Leicester.