The expert cautioned against fasting for those with severe liver diseases.
Most liver patients in stable conditions can fast during Ramadan without possible complications, an expert at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) told Qatar’s state news agency (QNA) on Sunday.
The assurance was provided by Dr. Mootaz Derbala, a senior consultant of Gastroenterology and Hepatic diseases at HMC, while offering a set of guidelines to ensure a safe fast among the patients.
“Patients with unstable liver disease may encounter health problems during their fast. Signs of these health problems include dizziness and paleness of the skin. Should these signs appear, patients are advised to break their fast,” Dr. Derbala said.
However, the expert cautioned those with severe liver diseases including Acute Hepatitis, Esophageal varices, Ascites and Hepatic Encephalopathy (Coma) from fasting “from a medical viewpoint”.
The HMC expert advised patients with liver immunodeficiency, congenital liver disease, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C to consult doctors before fasting to avoid health risks.
Commenting on the benefits of fasting among individuals with fatty-liver disease, Dr. Derbala said that the practice can help shed excess liver fat.
“For those with liver disease, fasting can regulate the doses of his medications, and for those who are treated with tablets, they can take the doses at iftar and suhoor,” Dr. Derbala said, per QNA’s report.
As for those who have had a liver transplant, they should avoid fasting within a year after the procedure and should consult their physician before doing so, the expert added.
“For liver transplant patients who are allowed to fast according to the conditions described, they take medicines that stabilise the transplanted liver at breakfast and suhoor,” the doctor said, noting that they need to rearrange the timing of their medications.
Adding onto the topic of rearranging the timing of medications, Dr. Derbala said that patients on diuretic drugs or Esophageal varices medication cannot fast during Ramadan as the dosage cannot be altered.
A balanced diet
With a healthy diet being a crucial factor in one’s health, especially those with liver diseases, Dr. Derbala stressed the importance of carefully selecting one’s food during Ramadan.
“Liver patients who intend to fast during the month of Ramadan should adhere to healthy dietary practices,” the health expert said.
Dr. Derbala explained that liver patients who are fasting must gradually break their fast starting off with a light sweet drink.
Patients can then pray upon breaking their fast before returning to consume their main Iftar meal.
The makeup of one’s meal should include carbohydrates, natural fruit sugars and proteins with little amounts of fat, while consuming enough fluids to prevent dehydration.
“To achieve optimal function of the liver, liver patients should have a balanced diet inclusive of all food groups; cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat, beans, milk, and oil, in addition to fiber-rich foods such as whole grain bread, rice, fruits and vegetables,” Dr. Derbala said.
In Islam, patients with severe illnesses, including those with diabetes and liver diseases, are permitted to not fast during the holy month.