Posted on June 23, 2016

Many kidney patients are able to fast during Ramadan provided they take the necessary precautions.

Dr. Ahmed Hamdi, Consultant at Hamad General Hospital said before making a decision to fast for the Holy Month of Ramadan, a range of factors need to be taken into account. “The most important factor is the type of kidney disease the patient has,” Dr. Hamdi said. “Fasting may be appropriate for some patients with kidney disease, but not for others. It is important to consult the patient’s healthcare team about their specific condition.”

“For example, patients with acute renal disorders cannot fast.” Dr. Hamdi said general precautions kidney patients can take include drinking at least two liters of water a day. “Kidney patients should also avoid prolonged exposure to intense heat when fasting and avoid working outside in high temperatures, if possible,” Dr. Hamdi said. “Excessive intake of foods rich of potassium and phosphorus, including dates, nuts and dairy products, coffee and juices should also be avoided.”

According to Dr. Hamdi, patients with kidney disease frequently have other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease so should be evaluated from a holistic perspective. “Each patient’s suitability for fasting should be evaluated through a direct consultation with a physician,” he said. “For patients with a kidney filtration rate of less than 45 ml/min, fasting is not recommended, except in special circumstances and with the approval of a nephrologist.”

Dr. Hamdi said chronic renal failure patients on regular sessions of blood or peritoneal purification, can fast on the days they do not undergo renal washing sessions, upon the approval of their physician. He said kidney transplant patients can fast, provided they take immunosuppressive drugs every 12 hours (at breakfast and Suhoor) along with other prescribed drugs. “It is important to note that the patient must have achieved a stable kidney function for at least one year following the transplant surgery before they can consider fasting,” Dr. Hamdi said.

Kidney patients who choose to fast after consultation with their physician should be aware of potentially dangerous side effects. This includes increased swelling of the face or legs, occurrence of symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting or fatigue and inability to control high blood pressure.