First time ever, for the Islamic community, Stop Diabetes Foundation alongside Diabetes Canada launched the Canadian Diabetes & Ramadan Position Statement
VISION 2020 – Peel Region holds the unfortunate distinction of being the “Diabetes capital of Canada”. STOP Diabetes foundation’s (SDF) mission termed ‘SDF VISION 2020’ aims to remove this infamous #1 tag before the year 2020 by providing public health education. In addition to this mission of prevention, the foundation’s second goal is to support those living with diabetes live a long and complication-free life.
Type 2 diabetes is a growing epidemic, especially in certain immigrant populations in Canada including people with origins from South Asia and the Middle East.According to national statistics, the Muslim population in Canada is steadily growing. Fasting from dawn to dusk during Ramadan comprises one of the five pillars of Islam and is observed by a majority of Muslims. Though certain individuals are exempted from fasting (e.g. pre-pubertal children and those who are ill, pregnant or breast feeding), many of those who fall under these categories often opt to still follow the practice. Management of both types 1 and 2 diabetes during Ramadan is challenging for Canadian healthcare providers because of limited evidence around this topic. While the International Diabetes Foundation Diabetes and Ramadan (IDF-DAR) guidelines serve as a useful basis of educating patients and healthcare providers regarding this, important differences based on the availability of medications, and the variability in the duration of the fast in Canada lead to a knowledge gap and are an unmet need for the Canadian healthcare providers to help their patients fast safely during Ramadan.
Tuesday March 20th 2018 marked a milestone in Stop Diabetes Foundation’s timeline to bridge this knowledge gap. On this day, SDF, in collaboration with Diabetes Canada, launched the first ever Canadian Diabetes & Ramadan Position Statement (CDR) to spread awareness and educate healthcare providers as well as the public about the latest evidence on fasting with diabetes during Ramadan, keeping in mind the Canadian context. The CDR was developed with the consensus of Canadian diabetes specialists, researchers as well as religious leaders. Going forward, it is envisioned to have this position statement endorsed by Diabetes Canada and submitted for publication in a Canadian medical journal before the start of Ramadan in the middle of May 2018.
The Canadian Diabetes & Ramadan Position Statement was launched at a high-level media & health care professional event on March 20, 2018 from 6PM to 8 PM at Mississauga Convention centre. This event was organized by the SDF, in collaboration with Diabetes Canada and Sanofi. The one-hour program was kicked-off by Mr. Manzur Bhinder, a 78 year old devout Muslim living with type 2 diabetes for over 34 years. He shared his life story of fasting every year during Ramadan and the potential challenges with diabetes during fasting. The Canadian expert faculty involved with this project: Dr. Harpreet Bajaj, Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan, Dr. Muhammad Ahsan, Dr. Tayyab Khan, Dr. Hasnain Khandwala and Dr. Subodh Verma then enlightened the audience about the highlights of the CDR position statement. Some of the topics discussed included:
- Pre-Ramadan assessment by healthcare professionals to gauge patients’ risk for fasting and provide guidance regarding diet and monitoring of glucose control.
- Adjustment of both insulin and non-insulin treatments for those living with type 2 diabetes who intend to fast during Ramadan.
- Titration of insulin treatments for those living with type 1 diabetes who intend to fast during Ramadan.
- Monitoring of glucose control during Ramadan including debunking the myth that glucose testing invalidates the fast. .
- Safety first: the overarching goal should be to support people who intend to fast do so safely, while minimizing the risks of low sugar reactions (hypoglycemia) or dehydration. If any of these occur, the fast should be broken and medical advice should be sought immediately.
This was followed by messages of support for this important health initiative byDiabetes Canada scientific leaders Mrs. Jovita Sundaramoorthyand Dr. Peter Senior, several religious leaders, Dr. Hisham Mahmoud (Sanofi Canada) and Dr. Mohamed Hassanein(chair of the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes and Ramadan alliance based in Dubai). The Canadian Diabetes & Ramadan position statement will be widely distributed to healthcare providers across the country in collaboration with Diabetes Canada. In addition, STOP Diabetes foundation looks forward to the continued support of local community as well as media in this benevolent cause to disseminate this position statement among the general public. The plan is to make this document freely available on www.stopdiabetesfoundation.org and on our social media platforms highlighted below. We encourage everyone to join our fight against this important health concern afflicting our country, and the PEEL region disproportionately, and motivate our community to live healthy and long lives.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/STOPdiabetesfoundation Twitter: @STOPDMpeel
About Stop Diabetes Foundation
STOP Diabetes Foundation (SDF) is not-for-profit registered charitable organization (CRA 821832037 RR0001) founded by Dr. Harpreet S. Bajaj (endocrinologist) and comprises an inter-professional team of certified healthcare professionals (general and specialist physicians, physician assistants, dentists, nurses, registered dietitians as well as pharmacists), all of whom work purely on a volunteer basis for the health cause. The foundation’s twin objectives through this benevolent effort include to decrease the burden of diabetes afflicting our society through community-based education on preventative lifestyle; and to increase the longevity for patients living with diabetes by highlighting a combination of medically proven treatment and lifestyle regimen. SDF is committed to providing scientific and accurate information to the public on the prevention and management of diabetes and heart disease. More information about our charitable foundation’s mission, members and public health awareness work can be accessed at our website www.stopdiabetesfoundation.org.
About Diabetes Canada
The Canadian Diabetes Association became Diabetes Canada on February 13, 2017 to shed the light on the diabetes epidemic Canada is facing. It’s taking a monumental toll on our health.
Diabetes Canada is the driving force to build awareness of the disease and its implications, which are often misunderstood. Diabetes Canada is the national voice for millions of Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes. Where ‘End Diabetes’ is the rallying cry to end the terrible health impacts of diabetes as well as its shame, blame, stigma and misinformation. It’s also time to End Diabetes altogether with a cure. With the Mission statement, Diabetes Canada leads the fight against diabetes by helping those affected by diabetes live healthy lives, preventing the onset and consequences of diabetes, and discovering a cure.
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