Here are some frequently asked health questions about fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
These answers have been put together by medical experts and Islamic scholars and researchers.
Should a person with diabetes fast?
People who have their diabetes under control, either by their diet or using tablets, may fast. However, their GP may require them to change their medication to help them take tablets outside fasting times. Those who need insulin to control their diabetes should not fast.
I get severe migraines when I don’t eat and they get worse when I fast. Should I fast?
People with uncontrolled migraines should not fast. However, managing your migraines is possible with the right medicine and certain lifestyle changes. Ask your GP for further advice on controlling your migraines.
Should a person with high or low blood pressure fast?
People with well-controlled high blood pressure may fast. Their GP may require a change to their medicine to help them take tablets outside fasting times. Someone with low blood pressure who is otherwise healthy may fast. They must ensure they drink enough fluid and have enough salt.
Is fasting harmful when a woman is expecting a baby? Must pregnant women fast?
There’s medical evidence to show that fasting in pregnancy is not a good idea. If a pregnant woman feels strong and healthy enough to fast, especially during the early part of the pregnancy, she may do so. If she doesn’t feel well enough to fast, Islamic law gives her clear permission not to, and to make up the missed fasts later. If she is unable to do this, she must perform fidyah (a method of compensation for a missed act of worship, such as paying for someone to be fed).
From what age can children fast safely?
Children are required to fast upon reaching puberty, it isn’t harmful. Fasting before this age is tolerated differently, depending on the attitude of the parents and the child’s general health and nutrition.Fasting for children under the age of seven or eight isn’t advisable. It’s a good idea to make children aware of what fasting involves and to practise fasting for a few hours at a time.
Can I use an asthma inhaler during Ramadan?
Muslim experts have differing opinions on this issue. Some say that using an asthma inhaler isn’t the same as eating or drinking, and is therefore permitted during fasting. In their view, people with asthma can fast and use their inhalers whenever they need to.
However, other scholars say that the inhaler provides small amounts of liquid medicine to the lungs, so it breaks the fast. They say that people with poor control of their asthma must not fast until good control is achieved. Some people with asthma may opt for longer-acting inhalers so that they can fast. See your GP for further advice.
Can a person fast if they are getting a blood transfusion in hospital?
No. A person receiving a blood transfusion is advised not to fast on medical grounds. They may fast on the days when no transfusions are required.
Can a Muslim patient take tablets, have injections or use patches while fasting?
Taking tablets breaks the fast. However, injections, patches, eardrops and eye drops do not break the fast as they are not considered to be food and drink (though there are differences of opinion among Muslim scholars on these issues). Islamic law says sick people should not fast.
Omega 3 from algae versus fish
- It’s vegan and vegetarian-friendly. It also contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is only present in marine-based life forms. As a vegetarian, you may be getting a lot of alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA), which is great for hair and nails – but lacking in DHA, which is for mood, brain, eye and heart health.