The Emergency Department at the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) received more than 7,700 cases during the first week of Ramadan. A majority of these were fasting-related illnesses, which occurred after Iftar, according to an expert.
A total of 7,767 cases were attended to at the Hamad General Hospital Emergency, according to Dr Warda Al Saad, Consultant, Emergency Medicine, HMC. Of this, a majority of 5,949 patients were male, while females accounted for 1,408 cases, besides 410 paediatric patients.
“Most of these cases were related to fasting. It is very important that people should exercise at least four days a week. They can walk for 30 minutes, two hours after taking their Iftar meal,” she said.
Common illnesses reported during the week were acute renal colic, kidney disorders, heat stress and gastro-intestinal ailments. High temperature increases the risk of kidney diseases mainly the formation of kidney stones, due to increased perspiration and less intake of water.
Gastroenteritis or stomach flu cases are also common due to food contamination or poor storage. The heat and humidity facilitate the spread of germs that cause these diseases. Digestion problems increase during Ramadan due to increases intake of oily food and sweetened drinks after Iftar. The stomach which has been in rest for more than 12 hours while one fasts is suddenly put to test by foods that are difficult to digest and hence gastro-intestinal problems arise.
“Indigestion can be prevented by starting Iftar with dates as it contain the right amount of sugar, vitamins and minerals needed for the body. One should also drink water, milk and hot soup. A balanced meal of protein, carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits should be taken instead of spice and oily food. It is best to delay the Suhoor meal, which, again, should not have fatty foods,”
High humidity and temperature these days also lead to increase in heat stress cases at the hospitals. Tiredness, body aches, irritability, disorientation, dizziness, and fainting are the symptoms of heat stress which can lead to seizure attacks called heat strokes which can be fatal.
“Those who work in the open should drink at least three litres of water and fluids during the non-fasting hours between Iftar and Suhoor. They should also take precaution against the heat by wearing caps, and wear light clothing,” she said
“One should also guard against heat stroke. It causes loss of fluids and consciousness and abnormal blood pressure.”
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