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Muslims need to look after their health while fasting, warn Newham medics

PUBLISHED: 14:29 09 June 2014

Medics are urging Muslim residents to take extra care of their health while fasting for the holy month of Ramadan.

This year Ramadan starts at the end of June and as it is summer, the period of fasting is longer and can increase the risk of dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include; body aches, cramps, dizziness and exhaustion. These symptoms can affect people who have existing medical problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Dr Shahzada Khan, a local GP and the Clinical Lead for Diabetes for NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The weather can play a part in increasing the symptoms of exhaustion whilst fasting. It’s important that you take all precautions during summer and avoid long periods of time in the sun. Please try and remain in the shade as much as possible. It is especially important to reduce your intake of all types of caffeinated drinks. Drinking water is recommended during this period.”

He said managing your medication throughout this period is also vital in maintaining your health. Medicines that are suitable to take during the holy month include; injections through the skin, muscles, and joints, ear drops and eye drops, patches where the medicine is absorbed through the skin.

People with diabetes and high blood pressure should speak to their GP before the start of Ramadan.

Muslims are banned from smoking during Ramadan and while this may be a daunting prospect, Dr Zuhair Zarifa, Newham Clinical Commissioning Group Chair, believes that the opportunity to stop smoking should be taken.

He said: “It’s just a click away, visit nhs.uk/smokefree to receive your Free Quit Kit. From there you can choose to receive face-to-face or electronic support. Local GPs and pharmacies are also here to support you on how to successfully stop smoking or contact the Stop Smoking Service on 0800 093 9030.”

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