There are an estimated 3,000 Muslims in London who are living with diabetes, and for them the month of daily fasting from dawn to sunset during Ramadan can be especially challenging.

But a new service run by St. Joseph's Health Care is helping them to stay healthy during this important period of spiritual reflection.

For Talal El Kadri, fasting is an important part of his religious observance as a Muslim, but he's also a type two diabetic.

So he turns to Dr. Mervat Bakeer, of the Primary Care Diabetes Support Progaram at St. Joseph’s, for advice on staying healthy.

Bakeer is spearheading the new service for members of London's Muslim community who are diabetic and want to fast during Ramadan, which begins July 9th and ends a month later with Eid. 

He says "If we can help them do it safely, I think we are up to it"

According to research, 40 per cent of Muslims with type one diabetes and 80 per cent with type two diabetes fast during Ramadan. 

However, most don't change the way they manage their diabetes while they're fasting.

"They're running the risk of having very low blood sugar or very high blood sugar. Dehydration is a big thing with its complications," Bakeer says.

The program helps those who are fasting during Ramadan find the optimal balance of nutrition, exercise and medication.  

"Sometimes it's just the timing of the medication. Sometimes we alter the dose to match the decrease in their food intake and the fasting,” he adds.

Participants will be assessed and their health plan monitored through clinic visits, and by phone and email.

Special brochures with health advice have also been published in a variety of languages including Farsi, Arabic and Punjabi.

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