With over two and half million pilgrims from different nationalities now ready for Hajj, a significant proportion of them are elderly and may suffer from chronic medical conditions such as diabetes.
Here are some tips for diabetic patients and their medical teams during this valuable spiritual pilgrimage.
Always carry some carbohydrates to be used in the hypoglycemic states (honey, jam, etc).
Try to adhere to a healthy balanced diet containing adequate, but not excess carbohydrates, with appropriate proteins and fiber but minimal (monounsaturated) fat. Use as desired vegetables and 2 units of fresh fruits per day but avoid fruit juices and syrups.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily and carry enough water bottles with yourself.
If you use insulin, before Ihram, check your blood glucose by glucometer and urine ketone by dipstick. If needed, use a small dose of insulin to cover hyperglycemia and or some bread for hypoglycemia.
If you use insulin, before and during long walking, decreases the dose of short and intermediate insulin about 20%. For patients on sulfonylurea drugs (e.g. glibenclamide), this small decrease (up to 50% decrease in the corresponding drug dose) can also be applied.
Before Tawaf (circumambulation around Ka`bah) and Sa’i (walking between Safa and Marwah), consume some extra carbohydrate (bread is preferred).
Walk slowly during Tawaf and Sa’i, and try to protect your feet from damage by the ground tiles or other pilgrims.
In case of fever, diarrhea, vomiting or any acute medical condition consult your medical team promptly instead of waiting in your residence.
Hajj is one of the main pillars of Islam and is mandatory for all adult Muslims who can afford the journey and are in acceptable health.