Minnesota medical providers work with patients to balance health with fasting during Ramadan

“Five years ago, a Muslim diabetes patient mentioned to Dr. Roli Dwivedi that she was fasting for the month of Ramadan — a practice that can be difficult for people trying to control their blood sugar.

“And here I was, sitting with my medical degree … and I’d never thought about it before,” said Dwivedi, chief clinical officer at Community-University Health Care Center in Minneapolis.

So she set about developing a curriculum for medical staff to learn how to work with patients during the holiest time of the year for Muslims, when prohibitions on eating, drinking and taking oral medications during the day sometimes run into conflict with managing health conditions.

Some health care providers are giving more consideration to the intersection of Ramadan and medicine in a state with an estimated 150,000 Muslims. In keeping with the belief that fasting teaches self-restraint and compassion for the less fortunate, many Muslims have been rising early to pray, fasting until sunset and gathering for celebratory feasts known as iftars with family, friends and neighbors late into the night for much of May.”

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