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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 64-68

COVID-19 lockdown and hypoglycemia among patients with diabetes fasting the month of Ramadan 2020


1 Department of Internal Medicine, Qatif Central Hospital, Qatif, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Qatif Public Health, Qatif Primary Health Care Centers, Qatif, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Zahra Abdulkareem Ghareeb
Department of Medicine, Qatif Central Hospital, Qatif
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jdep.jdep_1_21

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Background: Patients with diabetes are targeted with diabetes education 8–10 weeks before Ramadan to have a safe fasting experience. In 2020, this timing coincided with COVID-19 lockdown when virtual clinics were implemented to secure patient care continuity. Objectives: We evaluated hypoglycemia episodes among patients with diabetes fasting in Ramadan 2020 during COVID-19 lockdown. Patients and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted after the month of Ramadan 2020, using a self-administered online questionnaire and convenient sampling methods. Patients with diabetes aged 14 years and older who practiced fasting in Ramadan were included in the study. Hypoglycemia rate in total and diabetes treatment among observers of Ramadan 2019 and Ramadan 2020 were compared. Predictors of hypoglycemia during fasting Ramadan 2020 were estimated. Results: Out of 367 patients with diabetes aged 14 years and older, 326 (88.8%) participants had the ability to fast Ramadan and were included in the study. Comparing patients' experience in Ramadan 2019 and Ramadan 2020, participants reported lower hypoglycemia episodes during Ramadan 2020 than Ramadan 2019, P = 0.017. In subgroup analysis based on the type of treatment, patients on noninsulin treatment had statistically significant lower hypoglycemia episodes during Ramadan 2020 than Ramadan 2019 (P = 0.006). Patients on insulin treatment had fewer hypoglycemia episodes during Ramadan 2020 than Ramadan 2019, but the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.405). The probability of hypoglycemia during fasting Ramadan 2020 was higher among younger age groups 14–30 years (odds ratio [OR] 7.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.72–30.39), patients aged 31–45 years (OR 7.18, 95% CI 1.97–26.19), patients with longer duration of diabetes (more than 10 years) (OR 2.30, 95% CI 1.01–5.26), and patients on insulin (OR 14.14, 95% CI 1.72–30.39). Conclusions: COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown did not affect the diabetes-related experience among participants' fasting Ramadan. The hypoglycemia episodes of patients with diabetes in Saudi Arabia were improved during the pandemic era. This could be related to telemedicine services. More studies are required to support its role in improving health conditions beyond our population's pandemic era.


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