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Overeating during Ramadan and Eid is risky for chronic patients: HMC expert

Overeating during Ramadan and Eid is risky for chronic patients: HMC expert


Tribune News Network
Doha
AHEAD of the upcoming Eid festivities, which mark the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan, Emergency Medicine Consultant Dr Biju Gafoor has cautioned residents against overeating.
According to Gafoor, overeating not only causes indigestion, weight gain and general discomfort, but it can also worsen pre-existing medical conditions.
Each week throughout this Ramadan, a large number of patients complaining of indigestion, gastrointestinal/stomach flu, and other abdominal problems have visited the Emergency Department at Hamad General Hospital (HGH). Dr Gafoor says these conditions do not require emergency care, adding that misuse of the Emergency Department places it under undue stress.
Dr Gafoor emphasised that many people have a tendency to overeat during celebrations and festivities, noting that overindulging on palatable foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat is a major cause of indigestion and other abdominal problems.
"The main purpose of fasting in the Holy Month is to exercise restraint and be prudent in the consumption of food and drink. Part of the benefit of fasting is to cultivate a healthier lifestyle. However, many people see the occasion of iftar and suhour as an opportunity to load up on what they have missed during the fasting period. This overindulgence often continues during the Eid period which follows the end of Ramadan. As a result, we see an influx of patients complaining of gastrointestinal problems visiting the Emergency Department," he noted.
Dr Gafoor noted that the risk of health complications due to overeating is particularly high for those who have a chronic disease.
"Persons who have chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, kidney problems and obesity are most at risk of experiencing adverse health problems associated with overeating. Overeating forces the body's digestive system and organs into overdrive. It can also lead to a toxic build up in the body that can cause weight gain, high blood pressure and a host of other health complications," said Dr Gafoor.
He added that the short-term consequences of overeating can include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and lightheadedness."Overindulging in food or drink can cause uncontrolled blood sugar or hyperglycemia. It can also lead to weight gain. Weight gain can tax the body and losing weight once you gain it can be very challenging. Prevention of weight gain and the often resulting health complications is the best strategy for maintaining good health," Dr Gafoor pointed out.
He pointed out that most patients who visit the Emergency Department as a result of overeating are not in need of urgent care."They will end up having to wait while we treat patients with more serious conditions so we recommend these patients to visit their primary care doctor. However, patients who have experienced prolonged vomiting or diarrhoea as a result of gastrointestinal disorders may become severely dehydrated and require urgent treatment with IV fluids," Dr Gafoor said.
To help prevent indigestion, he advises eating in moderation, avoiding excessive portions of foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat. He also recommends drinking plenty of fluids, getting sufficient rest, and engaging in regular physical exercises.
The Ministry of Public Health, HMC, and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) have partnered again this year to re-launch the Ramadan Health website and have expanded the initiative by introducing a companion smartphone and tablet app.

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