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KARACHI: More than 10 million people across Pakistan, suffering from impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), which puts them at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, can use fasting in Ramzan to reduce the risk of becoming diabetic, experts have said.

They said the holy month of Ramzan has emerged as a great opportunity for people with borderline diabetes or on the verge of developing diabetes. If they fast according to Islamic principles, while eating less but healthy food, exercising daily and successfully losing weight, they can prevent themselves from developing diabetes and prevent other non-communicable diseases (MNT).

“These people with borderline diabetes have the opportunity to become normal people if they enjoy the month of Ramzan, eat healthy food during sehri and iftar and exercise. Unfortunately, many people gain weight even in the month of Ramzan due to poor eating habits,” senior diabetologist Dr. Adil Akhtar told reporters from Karachi Press Club (KPC).

Associated with Ehad Medical Center, Dr Akhtar claimed that according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), about 33 million adults are living with type 2 diabetes in Pakistan, which is the third highest number of diabetics in the world after China and India, and added that an additional 11 million people are pre-diabetic, meaning they will eventually develop diabetes in their lifetime.

Another diabetes educator, Erum Ghafoor, said fasting in the month of Ramzan is beneficial for people as it helps them reduce weight, but warned that some people may even gain weight and develop NCDs due to unhealthy eating habits.

“Choose whole grains and whole grain products over refined grains and other highly processed carbs, avoid sugary drinks, and choose water, lassi, and homemade lemonade. Eat fruits and salads, limit red meat and avoid processed meat; choose nuts, beans, whole grains, poultry or fish instead,” she added.

The famous ophthalmologist Dr. Birbal Genani was of the opinion that people should control their diabetes and blood pressure as these two diseases cause irreparable damage to the eyes of the patients.

“Diabetic retinopathy is known to be a complication of diabetes due to high blood sugar levels that eventually damage the retina, the back part of the eye. If not treated in time, it can lead to to blindness,” he added.

Posted in Dawn, April 4, 2022