By Daily Sabah
Those who suffer from cardiovascular diseases can fast during Ramadan with the approval of their doctors, but need to follow some recommendations to avoid life-threatening risks
Wrong dietary habits during Ramadan, the sultan of 11 months, can lead to complications if they increase the load on the heart. So, what can those with cardiovascular disease who also want to fast do?
Cardiovascular patients whose heart disease is under control can fast if their doctor approves. Conversely, fasting when the doctor disapproves can lead to life-threatening risks.
“Hearsay can create serious dangers in this process. Although many studies have been conducted worldwide on this subject, there is still no consensus on some issues. Therefore, each patient should be evaluated separately by the relevant physician. This decision should be made together with the physician,” Dr. Macit Bitargil, a cardiovascular surgery specialist at Acıbadem Taksim Hospital, said.
Bitargil explained the five essential points that patients at risk for cardiovascular diseases but are allowed to fast in a controlled manner by their doctors should pay attention to.
Water between iftar, sahur
Bitargil emphasized that it is vital for patients with cardiovascular issues but who are allowed to fast in a controlled manner by their doctor to stay hydrated.
“If the water balance is ignored, incidents such as an increased workload on the heart, fainting, heart attack and death may occur due to hypovolemia (dehydration of the body). For this reason, consuming approximately 2 to 2.5 liters of water at regular intervals is important, especially between iftar and suhur.”
Beware of nutrition!
Bitargil, emphasizing that salty, spicy foods and acidic and sugary drinks that will trigger thirst should be avoided, said that it would be healthy to eat a diet rich in vegetables and greens, to consume fish instead of red meat, and to prefer boiled, steamed and grilled food instead of fried. It is also essential for cardiovascular health to avoid pastries and sweets with syrup and avoid foods containing excessive salt.
About your medication
Bitargil stated that serious life-threatening risks might arise if a patient at cardiovascular risk fasts without consulting their doctor. He emphasized that it is essential to arrange the medication and medication hours with the doctor following Ramadan and to communicate closely with the doctor.
“Especially those who need to use anticoagulants, (if they) stop taking blood thinners or start not using them, they may face severe consequences from the risk of stroke to loss of life.”
Caution while exercising
Cardiovascular patients who want to engage in physical activity during Ramadan should consider some points. “Physical activity done at the wrong time can further increase the load on the heart in an already dehydrated person, causing undesirable consequences, fainting and heart attacks. Therefore, those who want to do sports can walk for 30 to 40 minutes, two to three hours after breaking fast in the evening, without exerting themselves too much and if their doctor allows it.”
Bitargil says it is not a good idea to go to bed right after a meal, so inactivity should be avoided.
Get enough sleep
Bitargil emphasized that getting enough sleep during Ramadan is vital regarding the correct decision-making mechanism of the brain and cognitive functions, such as memory and logical thinking.
“Not getting enough sleep will also lead to making wrong decisions, being irritable during the day, having outbursts of anger, headaches and higher stress loads. These will directly or indirectly increase the heart’s workload and may lead to unwanted incidents. In this regard, getting at least four hours of uninterrupted sleep at night after iftar and before sahur, sleeping for a few more hours after sahur and taking small naps of 20 minutes during the day are all beneficial.”
The views expressed in the article are solely the opinion of the writer. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Wargeyska Jamhuriyadda. The article was originally published on Dailysabah Website.