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Diabetes Care. 2004 Oct;27(10):2306-11.

A population-based study of diabetes and its characteristics during the fasting month of Ramadan in 13 countries: results of the epidemiology of diabetes and Ramadan 1422/2001 (EPIDIAR) study.

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Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.



The aim of this study was to assess the characteristics and care of patients with diabetes in countries with a sizable Muslim population and to study diabetes features during Ramadan and the effect of fasting.


This was a population-based, retrospective, transversal survey conducted in 13 countries. A total of 12,914 patients with diabetes were recruited using a stratified sampling method, and 12,243 were considered for the analysis.


Investigators recruited 1,070 (8.7%) patients with type 1 diabetes and 11,173 (91.3%) patients with type 2 diabetes. During Ramadan, 42.8% of patients with type 1 diabetes and 78.7% with type 2 diabetes fasted for at least 15 days. Less than 50% of the whole population changed their treatment dose (approximately one-fourth of patients treated with oral antidiabetic drugs [OADs] and one-third of patients using insulin). Severe hypoglycemic episodes were significantly more frequent during Ramadan compared with other months (type 1 diabetes, 0.14 vs. 0.03 episode/month, P = 0.0174; type 2 diabetes, 0.03 vs. 0.004 episode/month, P < 0.0001). Severe hypoglycemia was more frequent in subjects who changed their dose of OADs or insulin or modified their level of physical activity.


The large proportion of both type 1 and type 2 diabetic subjects who fast during Ramadan represent a challenge to their physicians. There is a need to provide more intensive education before fasting, to disseminate guidelines, and to propose further studies assessing the impact of fasting on morbidity and mortality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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