Monday, August 25, 2008

Ramadan Fasting: Health Benefits and Problems

Muslims from across the world stay ordained to the Quran and fast for the whole of Ramadan month. Fasting is a part of pleasing God, in almost all religions. Probably, the health benefits of fasting were known to our forefathers several centuries ago.

Though the primary aim of fasting by Muslims is to conform to religious norms, fasting brings in several health benefits too. While considering health benefits, there are also a few problems to consider and precautions to take while fasting.

Those who suffer from medical conditions like coronary artery disease, kidney stones, etc are exempt from fasting. The negative effects of total fasting include hypokalemia (drastic drop of blood potassium levels), cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart beat), etc. Ramadan fasting is not total fasting and believers take nutrients needed for the body, through the systematically planned early morning and evening food.

Lowering of blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure are the first notable physiological changes.

Diabetes patients need to take extra care while fasting. Hypoglycaemia, a condition characterised by abnormal drop of blood sugar levels can cause health problems. Diabetic patients should reduce intake of medicines or insulin injection during fasting. Monitoring of blood sugar levels is also desirable. Conditions like tiredness, sweating, headaches, unconsciousness, etc are the symptoms of abnormally low levels of blood sugar levels.

Hyperglycaemia- this is the reverse of hypoglycaemia, characterised by increase of blood sugar levels. This is mainly due to the medicines you take to sustain blood sugar levels. Increase in blood sugar levels can cause problems to kidney and eyes.

Problems of Acidity and Ulcer – bile can get filled up in stomach, which causes acidity and ulcer.

Healthy individuals have considerable health benefits from Ramadan fasting. It is an effective detoxification therapy. Toxins accumulated in the body break down and pass out of the body.

Fasting is ideal for both overweight and underweight persons. It is commonsense how fasting works to reduce weight. During fasting, deposited fat gets used and burns down and facilitates weight loss.

Fasting also normalizes the digestive system of underweight persons, and equips body to digest and assimilate nutrients from the food they eat.Fasting can also clear many skin problems. This is because of the elimination of toxic materials from the body and generally cleansing the blood.

Fasting has advantages in getting rid of addictions and unhealthy habits like smoking and taking alcohol.
Ramadan fasting improves the health condition of healthy people. But for people who suffer from any medical condition should monitor their body and physiology more closely.
Pregnant and feeding women are exempted from fasting and they shall not attempt fasting, as it can deprive nutrition to both mother and child.

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