The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has updated their advice regarding the annual fasting period Ramadan and how to control diabetes while fasting.

In Islamic faith, Ramadan commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad and one billion Muslims across the globe are thought to observe Ramadan each year.

The time over which Ramadan occurs changes slightly each year, but this year it will start in early June. It sees practicing Muslims fast from dawn to dusk.

Having such a large restriction on diet can pose health risks to people with metabolic conditions, especially diabetes, so the IDF have updates their recommendations in order to help people stay healthy throughout the fasting.

People with diabetes are exempt from fasting through Ramadan, due to the potentially serious complications it could cause them, such as hypoglycemia, but many choose to do so.

The guidelines state: “The decision about whether to fast should be made on an individual basis in consultation with the patient’s treating physician, taking into account the severity of illness and the level of risk involved.”

Commenting on the new guidelines, the chair of the Diabetes and Ramadan (DAR) International Alliance and a senior endocrinologist at Dubai Hospital, Dr Mohamed Hassanein, said to Medscape Medical News.

The document includes three different risk assessment categories, color coded for ease, which can help people to follow the best approach that they should take to fast throughout Ramadan, depending on the severity and state of their condition.

The new guidelines, called the Diabetes and Ramadan Practical Guidelines are available now for free on the IDF website.