Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Obesity and Diabetes launched the nationwide campaign for Silver Star Diabetes in the House of Commons to help people living with type 2 diabetes to manage their condition during Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting.

The ‘Stay Healthy During Ramadan’ campaign will take education about the risks associated with type 2 diabetes and fasting to the heart of Muslim communities across the UK. A series of regional educational events will be held at mosques and hosted by local doctors throughout the months of June and July. The Silver Star ‘Stay Healthy During Ramadan’ roadshow will be visiting cities across the UK including Bradford, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leicester, London, and Manchester to target Britain’s nearly three million Muslim population. These educational sessions will focus on providing the congregation with essential facts about fasting for people living with type 2 diabetes. The event is being supported by Astra Zeneca.

Hypoglycaemia – or low blood sugar – occurs when the level of glucose in the blood drops too low, below the “normal” level of 4mmol/l.3 Symptoms of low blood sugar can include blurred vision, anxiety and a loss of concentration. Severely low blood sugar can result in loss of consciousness and seizures.

The Rt. Hon. Keith Vaz, MP, Founder Patron of Silver Star Diabetes and Vice Chair All Party Parliamentary Diabetes Group, said: “The ‘Staying Healthy During Ramadan’ campaign aims to highlight the need for Muslim patients who want to fast during Ramadan to discuss their plans with their doctor or nurse before observing the fast. We want to ensure that people with type 2 diabetes who are planning to observe Ramadan in this way are aware of the medical facts associated with fasting and living with type 2 diabetes.”

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Obesity and Diabetes said: “Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges we face today in the UK. The majority of the 3.2 million people diagnosed live with type 2 diabetes and people of South Asian descent are six times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared with the overall UK population. I applaud Silver Star’s efforts to provide practical support and information to those people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who may be planning to fast this summer.”

Prof Wasim Hanif, Diabetes Clinical Lead at the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, comments: “Many people of South Asian descent have an increased risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes and a high proportion of South Asian people are Muslim. Fasting during Ramadan can affect blood sugar levels as neither food nor drink is consumed between pre-sunrise and sunset over a 30 day period in July. Long gaps between eating mean that the risk of experiencing low blood glucose levels is increased.”

People with type 2 diabetes are encouraged to discuss the management of their condition with a healthcare professional at least one month before Ramadan so that a medical assessment can be made and possible changes to medication or lifestyle can be discussed. There are different management options available for people with type 2 diabetes who decide to fast during Ramadan.