Ramadan is here and particularly in the UK, there are approximately 19 hour fasts. These can have a physical toll on the human body. As a result it is worth covering the common conditions that affect people during this time and how to prevent them.

Headaches: a common symptom particularly at the start of Ramadan most commonly due to dehydration or caffeine withdrawal. Prevented by good hydration when breaking fast and occasional use of simple analgesia if needed, available at your local pharmacy.

Constipation: driven by dehydration and irregular eating patterns. This can subsequently lead to stomach cramps, a common symptom in people that are fasting. Managed effectively by good hydration when breaking fast, fibre rich diet like fruit or vegetables and if severe occasional use of simple laxatives via your local pharmacy can help.

Indigestion /heartburn: because of the long fasts this is a common symptom especially made worse by eating oily food. Managed by eating healthily especially simple foods, yogurt based foods and avoiding complex carbs at night. If severe try simple antacid remedies or see your local pharmacist.

Muscle cramps: again caused by dehydration, see advice regarding headaches.

Diabetes: managing chronic health conditions can be a challenge, but diabetes is probably the most complicated. It is worth looking at advice from diabetes UK, and pre-discussions with your GP practice’s diabetes nurse team. Some simple tips if applicable are to eat healthily, avoiding carbohydrate loading and try and use modified release medications if applicable. However the decision to fast with chronic health conditions is one to be taken seriously.