How To Fast Safely During Ramadan: The Essential Check-Up

How To Fast Safely During Ramadan: The Essential Check-Up

We are nearing the Holy Month of Ramadan, and it's time to reconsider your approach to health when you fast.

Fasting has several benefits and is medically proven to improve physical and mental health. It helps lower blood pressure, reduce weight, improve blood sugar levels, detox the body and mind, and lower inflammation. It enables the body to take a break and rejuvenate.

Studies also point to impoved cognition and enhanced brain receptivity due to fasting. The ability of the body to switch from fasting to food and back to fasting builds neuro resilience, according to research. It slows the ageing process, sharpens cognitive responses, regenerates brain cells, and enhances overall mood.

But fasting places demands on the body, which you must not ignore. It is essential to get an overall health test to know the state of your body before you begin a month-long fast.

American Hospital Dubai promotes preventative health among its core values and would like to educate you on the benefits of a health check-up while fasting.
Please consult our primary care doctors before and During Ramadan to devise the most conducive and effective health plan.

American Hospital Ramadan Check-up Package:

We suggest the following tests to ensure a safe Ramadan fasting experience:

  1. Complete Blood Count (CBC) test with differential

What is the test? It measures the number of red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC), and platelets in the blood. The test also marks the numbers of the different types of WBCs (neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, basophils, and eosinophils, and the ratio of hemoglobin and hematocrit. Hematocrit is the amount of whole blood made up of red blood cells.

Why is it essential? A CBC differential test helps determine how healthy your blood is. Poor hemoglobin numbers, for instance, indicate anemia that may leave you constantly tired. Hematocrit levels reveal the number of red blood cells, and low levels mean your body is manufacturing an insufficient amount. Red blood cells transport oxygen from our lungs around the body, and low hematocrit levels indicate nutritional deficiencies or other health issues.

2) AST/ALT tests or Liver Function Tests

What is the test? AST (Aspartate aminotransferase) and ALT (alanine aminotransferase) are two enzymes produced by the liver, and they help the body carry out a range of functions.

Why is it essential? These tests check for liver health and its normal functioning. ALT helps convert proteins into energy for the liver cells, and AST helps metabolize amino acids. The presence of these enzymes in the blood indicates they are in excess amounts because the liver is not functioning normally. In certain liver conditions, doctors will advise you on fasting and its effects; therefore, taking a liver function test rules out underlying conditions you may not be aware of.

  1. Urea/Creatinine Tests

What is the test? A creatinine test, using a blood sample, is done to check kidney health. Creatinine is a waste compound muscles produce during daily wear and tear. The kidneys filter the creatinine from the blood, which is excreted in the urine. High creatinine levels in the blood indicate the kidneys cannot clear it regularly and point to a problem. 

Urea tests or Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) tests, done with a blood sample, also reveal kidney functioning. The test measures the volume of urea nitrogen, a waste product from the breakdown of protein by the liver, in your blood. High levels indicate the kidneys are not filtering it effectively.

Why are they essential? The urea/creatinine tests reveal your kidney health. If your kidneys are functioning under par, following the doctor's orders concerning fasting is advisable. The long hours of going without water must be medically endorsed and rule out any possible impact on kidney health.

  1. Lipid Panel test

What is the test? Lipids are fats in the blood that can create arterial plaque and lead to cardiovascular problems. This blood test measures four kinds of cholesterol levels: HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol), triglycerides (unhealthy fats), and total cholesterol.

Why is it essential? The test reveals the cholesterol levels in your body to help you take better care and follow a healthy diet during Ramadan. Though fasting helps improve lipid profile, excessive consumption of fatty and sugary foods after breaking the fast undoes the benefits of fasting. Knowing your lipid profile enables you to tailor a Ramadan dietary regimen with your doctor that can significantly improve your cardiovascular health.

    5.HbA1c test

What is the test? Also called the Hemoglobin A1c, it is a test that measures the average blood sugar level attached to your hemoglobin over three months. It is primarily used to detect prediabetic and diabetic conditions.

Why is it essential? It is a good indicator of how well your body controls sugar levels. Fasting during Ramadan can lower blood sugar levels, but it is critical to be aware of the risks of low blood sugar, especially if you have diabetes. Many people do not know they have diabetes, and an HbA1c test before Ramadan is a good way to become aware of it so you can take the proper steps based on your doctor's advice.

  1. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test

What is the test? It measures the levels of TSH or the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in your body. The TSH, released by the pituitary gland, prompts your thyroid to release its hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which play a significant role in metabolism by helping convert food into energy. High or low TSH levels indicate a thyroid problem leading to imbalanced metabolism.

Why is it essential? People with thyroid problems, with either high or low TSH levels, and who are on medication can benefit from a pre-Ramadan TSH test which helps them know their latest levels. Based on their doctor's advice, this knowledge can help them undertake a safe fasting regimen during Ramadan.

  1. Vitamin B12 test

What is the test? It is a blood test that reveals the Vitamin B-12 levels in your body. Vitamin
B-12 is essential to help your body function normally as it aids brain health, blood cell production, and nerve health.

Why is it essential? Low Vitamin B-12 can induce weakness, anemia, or nervous problems. Testing for Vitamin B-12 before Ramadan helps you prepare for fasting and prevent health problems due to its deficiency.

  1. Vitamin D test

What is the test? It is a blood test that reveals the Vitamin D levels in your body. Also called the Sunshine Vitamin - sun exposure helps your body manufacture Vitamin D - Vitamin D is critical to help you enjoy healthy bones, teeth, muscles, nerves, and immunity.

Why is it essential? Low Vitamin D levels can lower your mood, induce weakness, and lead to poor appetite, muscle weakness and other health problems. It is advisable to take a Vitamin D test before Ramadan to plan your fasting regimen and ensure you eat the right foods to boost your levels if they are low.  

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