The effect of Ramadan fasting on glycaemic control in insulin dependent diabetic patients: a literature review

Majid H. Alabbood*, Kenneth W. Ho, Mary R. Simons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Ramadan fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. People with diabetes are exempted from fasting according to Islamic rules. However, many people with diabetes wish to fast. Physicians are asked frequently by their patients about their ability to fast and the possible impact of fasting on their glycaemic control. Studies about the effect of Ramadan on people with insulin-treated diabetes are scarce. This review aims to provide clinicians with the best recommendations for their patients with insulin-treated diabetes who wish to fast. Methods: Four databases (Medline, EMBASE, Scopus and PubMed) were searched using the following MeSH terms and keywords: “insulin dependent diabetes mellitus”, “type 1 diabetes mellitus”, ‘Ramadan’ “and” “fasting”. In addition, a hand search of key journals and reference lists was performed. Sixteen full text articles were selected for review and critical analysis. Results: All of the included studies except one found improvement or no change in glycaemic control parameters during Ramadan fasting. The incidence of major complications were negligible. Minor hypoglycaemic events were reported in some studies but did not adversely affect fasting. Postprandial hyperglycaemia was a major concern in other studies. However, the incidence of severe hyperglycaemia and diabetic ketoacidosis were trivial. Conclusion: Ramadan fasting is feasible for insulin dependent diabetic patient who wish to fast. Clinicians should advise their patients about the importance of adequate glycaemic control before Ramadan and frequent glucose monitoring during fasting. Certain types of Insulin seem to be more beneficial than other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-87
Number of pages5
JournalDiabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research and Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • diabetes mellitus
  • Ramadan
  • insulin dependent diabetes


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