People in Tower Hamlets urged to consider their health during Ramadan

People in Tower Hamlets are being urged to plan ahead for Ramadan, to ensure they stay healthy and fast safely.

Anyone with a long-term condition or taking regular medication, who is thinking about fasting this Ramadan, is strongly recommended to discuss their options with their GP, specialist nurse or healthcare professional.

This year, Ramadan is due to start on Sunday evening (5 May) and, with summer approaching, the longer, warmer days can increase the risk of dehydration.

This can particularly affect people with existing medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Dr Shah Ali, a local GP and clinical lead for planned care at NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Ramadan is an important time for all Muslims and many will choose to observe the fast during daylight hours.”

“However, it is also important to stay healthy and fast safely. With this in mind, anyone with a long-term condition or taking regular medication who is thinking about fasting this Ramadan should discuss their options with their GP, specialist nurse or healthcare professional.

“If you are taking prescribed medicines, you should continue taking them during Ramadan but check with your GP if the doses need to be adjusted or the times that you take them need to be changed.”

To stay healthy during the 30 days of Ramadan, it is important to:

  • avoid long periods of time in the sun
  • drink plenty of plain water during non-fasting hours
  • cut back on all types of caffeinated drinks including tea, coffee and fizzy drinks
  • Eat a balanced diet during non-fasting hours to keep your body functioning properly during the day. Foods that release energy slowly, including natural unrefined carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables, fruits) and protein (meat, fish, eggs, beans), will help you maintain your energy levels. For healthy meal ideas, visit nhs.uk/LiveWell

Fasting is not considered compulsory for many groups – including people who are unwell or have a long-term condition; people with learning difficulties; people who are travelling; and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or menstruating.

People with diabetes on insulin are advised by GPs to avoid fasting, particularly those with significant kidney, eye or heart problems, and those who monitor their blood glucose levels should continue to do so whilst fasting.

Dr Ali added:  “If you think you have a health problem during Ramadan, please don’t hesitate to seek medical help. It is also really important that you attend all your regular or pre-arranged medical appointments.

“If you feel you are unable to attend your routine appointment during Ramadan, you should call your GP or hospital to reschedule the appointment as soon as possible and letting them know that you wish to have an appointment after 4 June.”

In Tower Hamlets, people who require medical help also have these healthcare options:

  • Visit a pharmacy – Many common illnesses such as coughs or colds can be best and most easily treated by visiting your local pharmacy and speaking to a pharmacist without having to make an appointment. You don’t need an appointment and many pharmacists have private consultation areas.
  • NHS 111 service– Contact NHS 111 online via 111.nhs.uk or call the free NHS 111 number to access a medical professional who will assess you any time of day or night. If you need to be seen, they will be able to direct you to the best service for your needs and can also arrange a GP ‘hub’ appointment if you need one.
  • Evenings and weekends:If your GP practice is closed, there are a number of GP ‘hub’ services across Tower Hamlets, which are open every day, including bank holidays. To get an appointment you must be registered with a Tower Hamlets GP. If you live in the borough, contact your registered GP practice, who can book a GP appointment if you need one. If you are visiting or work in the borough, call NHS 111 for advice on where you can go for a GP appointment if you need one.
  • For more information about the local healthcare services available in Tower Hamlets, you can search for details via myhealthlondon on the CCG’s website hereor visit http://www.nhs.uk/service-search

 

Please remember: fasting is not considered compulsory for many groups – including people with diabetes on insulin therapy; people who are unwell or have a long-term condition; people with learning difficulties; people who are travelling; and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or menstruating. 

Anyone with a long-term condition or taking regular medication who is thinking about fasting this Ramadan should discuss their options with their GP, specialist nurse or healthcare professional.

If you are taking prescribed medicines, you should continue taking them during Ramadan but check with your GP if the doses need to be adjusted or the times that you take them need to be changed.