Stay healthy and fast safely during Ramadan

14 May 2018

GPs in Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge (BHR) are urging people to stay healthy and fast safely during Ramadan.

This year, Ramadan is due to start on the evening of Tuesday 15 May, and the longer, warmer days can bring an increased risk of dehydration.

This can particularly affect people with existing medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Dr Anil Mehta, a local GP and chair of Redbridge CCG, said: “Ramadan is an important time for all Muslims and many will choose to observe the fast during daylight hours.

“However, it is also important to stay healthy and fast safely. With this in mind, anyone with a long-term condition or taking regular medication, who is thinking about fasting this Ramadan, should discuss their options with their GP, specialist nurse or healthcare professional.

“If you are taking prescribed medicines, you should continue taking them during Ramadan but check with your GP if the doses need to be adjusted or the times that you take them need to be changed.”

To stay healthy during the 30 days of Ramadan, it is important to:

  • avoid long periods of time in the sun
  • drink plenty of plain water during non-fasting hours
  • cut back on all types of caffeinated drinks including tea, coffee and fizzy drinks
  • Eat a balanced diet during non-fasting hours to keep your body functioning properly during the day. Foods that release energy slowly, including natural unrefined carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables, fruits) and protein (meat, fish, eggs, beans), will help you maintain your energy levels. For healthy meal ideas, visit

Please remember: Fasting is not considered compulsory for many groups – including people who are unwell or have a long-term condition; people with learning difficulties; people who are travelling; and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or menstruating.

People with diabetes on insulin are advised by GPs to avoid fasting, particularly those with significant kidney, eye or heart problems, and those who monitor their blood glucose levels should continue to do so whilst fasting.

Dr Mehta added: “If you think you have a health problem during Ramadan, please don’t hesitate to seek medical help. It is also really important that you attend all your regular or pre-arranged medical appointments.

“If you feel you are unable to attend your routine appointment during Ramadan, you should call your GP or hospital to reschedule as soon as possible and let them know that you wish to have an appointment after the 15th of June.”

If you are unable to see your GP and need to see a doctor urgently during Ramadan, urgent, same-day, bookable appointments are available in BHR every evening, weekend and on bank holidays at the boroughs’ GP hubs. To book an urgent same day appointment, call 020 3770 1888 or contact NHS 111.

More information about health services across Redbridge, including pharmacies, NHS 111, mental health support and walk-in services, is available from the local services section of our website.