Endocrine Abstracts (2009) 20 P294

The Ramadan: do Muslim diabetes patients adhere to their religion or to the doctor?

Guven Yildiz2,1, Yeter Ozturk3,2, Marina Hertogen3, Veerle Van Vlaslare3 & Dirk Avonts1


1University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium; 2Huisartsenpraktijk Vijfhoek, Antwerp, Belgium; 3Plantinhogeschool, Antwerp, Belgium.


Muslims with diabetes are confronted with a dilemma during the annually fasting period: the Ramadan. The Islam foresees a delay of fasting for sick people, but Muslim patients with diabetes do not feel themselves as sick people. How they cope with it?

Muslim diabetes patients are contacted in the outpatient department of three hospitals in Antwerp. Well educated students in diet education with a Muslim tradition, question the patients about their food consumption, treatment and attitudes concerning the Ramadan.

In this ongoing study 64 questionnaires are collected and analysed: 42 females and 22 men. The mean age is 55 years. The median duration of their disease is 10 years and 80% remains more than 10 years in Belgium.

Two third (64%) of the questioned patients follows the Ramadan completely and 5% partially, while 31% do not follow the fasting. Fifty of the 64 interviewed patients know that they can be exempted from fasting because of diabetes. But only 21/50 uses this exemption. Fifteen asked for medical advice: four follows the suggestions of the doctor, but 11 did not. Thirty of the 64 patients took their medication twice a day, while two stops all medication intakes during Ramadan.

Sixteen patients remembered that their doctor took the initiative to talk about diabetes and the Ramadan: seven appreciated it very much, while nine do not feel it was necessary. Sixteen patients had no talk with their doctor about the Ramadan, but they would appreciate it. On the other hand, 13 patients would not appreciate if their doctor would talk about the Ramadan and diabetes.

The majority of Muslim diabetes patients in Belgium have the intention to follow the Ramadan. They change their usual food intake and medication schedules according to the rules of the Muslim tradition. Medical advice is seldom asked, but initiative of doctors will be appreciated.

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