This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Diabetics warned over festival fasting
by Cathy Buss, Health Correspondent
A health specialist has warned thousands of Muslims suffering from diabetes to make sure they prepare properly for Ramadan.
City pharmacist Moinuddin Kolia said people must plan in advance before the religious festival, marked by fasting, or risk major health problems.
Those observing Ramadan will not eat or drink during daylight hours.
Mr Kolia, one of the directors of Moin's Chemist and Wellbeing Centre, in East Park Road, Spinney Hills, said he was concerned at lack of education on how people who fast should manage their diabetes medication.
He said: "This is a subject that really needs highlighting within other communities that fast, not just Muslims.
"Unless people understand what is required when fasting, it can be very dangerous and cause major health problems, such as low blood glucose levels, which can lead to a coma. In some circumstances, it can be fatal.
"Diabetes is something which needs to be managed properly throughout the year and Ramadan is no exception.
"What we are finding in general is a lack of education among many diabetics on how to manage their medication.
"With Ramadan falling at the peak of summer, with long hours, it is more important that those affected understand what they have to do.
"In the majority of situations, it will probably be a simple case of educating patients on how to manage medication, what to do if they have a hypoglycaemic attack when sugar levels fall very low and how the Ramadan diet will affect their diabetes.
"Some people do not realise if their diabetes is very severe they are not expected to fast."
This year, Ramadan begins on July 9 for 30 days.
Moin's Chemist, which recently opened a pharmacy in Market Harborough, has teamed up with experts at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the Leicester Diabetes Centre, which includes experts from the University of Leicester, to produce a number of ways to help those who are fasting.
This includes a diabetic specialist nurse and a pharmacist who have been running a series of workshops for patients. They have also produced a guide for diabetics called Fasting Toolkit for type two diabetics, which can be picked up from the store.
Mr Kolia said: "Most people who want to fast can do safely."