Ramadan health

Managing your body during Ramadan

Fasting in Ramadan has a number of health benefits if done properly. But fasting in this sweltering heat can have a negative impact if you do not take the necessary precautions, and this can lead to constipation, heart burns, dehydration, irritability or lack of concentration.

What are some of the benefits of fasting?

  • It promotes weight loss
  • It helps remove toxins from the body
  • It lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
  • It plays a major role in stabilizing insulin sensitivity
  • It provides a better control on blood pressure and diabetes
  • It leads to a state of increased mental well-being

What are the bodily changes that occur during fasting?

In the normal state glucose is the main source of energy which is stored in muscles and liver. During fasting, glucose is used first followed by fats once the glucose runs out.



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The effect of Ramadan on Cardiac Patients

Ramadan is an ideal platform to target year long lifestyle modification, to ensure that whatever health care benefits have been gained during this month, are perpetuated.

Patients with stable Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) can observe fasting during Ramadan without anticipating any major adverse cardiac events while those with unstable disease or recent/pending revascularization should largely refrain from fasting. Previous studies have shown that neither has there been an increase in the incidences of acute myocardial infarction nor has there been an increase in the number of patients hospitalized due to heart failure, during Ramadan.

A fairly small group of patients with cardiac conditions should be advised to refrain from fasting during Ramadan. These include patients with acute cardiac illnesses like Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) and Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS). Patients with uncontrolled HTN requiring multiple dosages during the daytime should be counseled against fasting. Patients with severe congestive heart failure (CHF) requiring high doses of diuretics should also refrain from fasting.

Patients are encouraged to seek medical advice 1 or 2 months before Ramadan in order to adjust their medications if needed. Drugs given thrice daily can be usually changed to single sustained doses.



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Management of Hypertension During Ramadan

Hypertension, commonly known as high Blood Pressure, affects 1 in 3 people globally and is the cause of 9.4 million deaths annually worldwide. Hypertension is rather rampant among Emiratis and approximately 40.8% of Emirati adults between the ages of 35-70 years suffer from hypertension, as revealed by a study conducted by the Dubai Health Authority.1

BP is the pressure of the blood in the blood vessels and is recorded as two figures, the first being the systolic pressure which is the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts and the second number is the diastolic pressure which is the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes. An individual is said to have high blood pressure, if either of the two numbers, systolic/diastolic or both are higher than normal. (more…)


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A basic guide to understanding stress and managing it

A 2015 survey conducted by YouGov showed that 60 percent of the workforce in UAE suffered from stress in some form or the other. The survey also stated that 49 per cent of UAE residents are reportedly stressed about some issue daily.

Stress is a silent killer, and it may be managed or mismanaged. Stress if ignored can lead to chronic problems like asthma, ulcers, heart conditions, stroke, etc.

People need to be aware of the symptoms of stress because people consider stress to be a state of mind for a brief period of time rather than a medical condition. However, absence of any symptoms does not mean absence of stress. Frequent headaches, chest pain, insomnia, fatigue, irritability etc. are symptoms that must be taken seriously as they are signs that your body gives you to manage your stress.



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Hypertension Day

  1. What is hypertension?

Hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure (in adults: >140/90 in at least 2 consecutive separate readings/days.

  1. Are there any symptoms or signs that show blood pressure is too high?

Patient with hypertension is usually an asymptomatic/ mostly symptomless condition, however, a patient with hypertension may experience severe headache/ nape pain, severe anxiety, vision problems, shortness of breath and nose bleeds.

  1. How does stress affect blood pressure, and what can we do to lower stress levels?

Stress would make a person do unhealthy practices like overeating, drinking alcohol and poor sleeping habits that can cause high blood pressure. Ways to avoid stress: Have some hobbies/ sports. Connect with other people.

  1. High Blood Pressure: Why Prevention and Control are urgent and important?

Risk factors of hypertension are usually modifiable/ preventable such as lifestyle and dietary factors (e.g. Physical inactivity, alcohol and tobacco use, and a diet high in sodium which is present in processed and fatty foods). It’s very important to start precautionary measures because long-standing hypertension could lead to a serious medical condition such as Heart failure and Heart attack, Aneurysm, stroke and kidney failure.

Another risk factor which is nonmodifiable is Genetic.

  1. Does hypertensionoccur in children? If yes how and what should be done to prevent it?

Hypertension may occur in all stages of life. It may occur in children with kidney, cardiac, endocrine/ hormonal problems and in certain tumors. It may also be caused by chronic, poorly managed stress. Some conditions that can lead to hypertension cannot be prevented, however, observing healthy lifestyle, hypertension might be prevented. Measures such as consuming low fat, low salt diet (avoid consuming fast foods, junk foods), having some sports, aerobic/ isotonic exercise and weight reduction for those obese children could decrease the chance of having hypertension in children.



Dr. Lezel Mahinay Baliad

General Practitioner

Aster Bahrain





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