MOH News
Dr. Khalid Al Nemr Advises Heart Patients to Monitor Their Blood Pressure in Ramadan
03 July 2014
Dr. Khalid Al Nemr, the Consultant in Cardiology, Arteries Catheterization and Tomography and Nuclear Imaging, has said that fasting is healthy for the heart, citing an Islamic tradition saying, "Fasting maintains good health". He further noted that fasting lowers triglycerides and Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the body and reduces the resistance of cells to insulin, and thus reducing the likelihood of diabetes, but overeating after breaking the fast would reverse the desired health benefits into bad eating habits leading to weight gain and increased fat and sugar.

Dr. Al Nemr said that the main cardiac problem in Ramadan is the person's inability to control the blood pressure, especially hypertension, due to the effects of the drug during fasting. "For this reason, we advise the patients to monitor their blood pressure in Ramadan and reduce the drug dose in case of need," Dr. Al Nemr said, adding that it is also important for the cardiac patient to know that the hospitals receive a large number of patients with weak heart muscles in Ramadan as a result of the increased salt and fluids which they consume in high quantities after a long period of fasting.

On the main recommendations and guidelines that must be followed up by the heart patient in Ramadan, Dr. Al Nemr said, "The cardiac patient can fast only after obtaining the approval of his treating physician and he should reduce the intake of salt and fat at the breakfast and Sahoor (an Islamic term referring to the pre-dawn meal consumed by Muslims before fasting)". He also stressed the patient's need for monitoring his blood pressure accurately, eating more vegetables and fruits daily and performing daily exercises in a fine weather.

Dr. Al Nemr further indicated that the Sohoor meal is very important for the heart patient, as it provides the body with the required amount of fluids. He noted that one of the bad habits in Ramadan is taking Sohoor immediately before bedtime, which increases the possibility of developing the gastro esophageal reflux disease.

This came during the hosting of Dr. Khalid Al Nemr at the Ministry of Health's National Center for Media and Health Awareness within the context of the awareness health campaign launched annually by the MOH during the Holy Month of Ramadan under the motto, "Hello, Healthy Ramadan". Through its campaign, the ministry hosts a number of consultants and specialists in all specialties via the Center's toll free number: 8002494444 and the MOH's Twitter account: @saudimoh, for helping the fasting people, particularly the sick ones, to perform the duty of fasting without any health problems, Allah willing..

On how and when the heart patient can take his medicines in Ramadan, Dr. Al Nemr said, "It is advisable for the cardiac patient to take the pressure drugs after performing the Taraweeh prayers (an Islamic term referring to extra prayers performed by Muslims at night in Ramadan during which long portions of the Holy Qur'an are recited) and at midnight and before Sohoor," adding that the drugs should be taken all over the night, especially those of the blood pressure, since most of the patients, by monitoring their pressure, can reduce the pressure drug doses by half, especially the ones causing diuretics. "For this reason, we always advise delaying the pressure drugs until after the Taraweeh prayer, because during this time the body recovers most of its lost fluids, but unfortunately some patients take the pressure drugs immediately after the breakfast (on a dry stomach) causing a faint during the prayers as the medication reaches the highest concentration in the blood.".

For preventing colic and the sharp rise in sugar and fat amounts in the body, Dr. Al Nemr recommended having small meals in the evening; not one or two main meals. He also advised patients to take a lot of fluids in general, except for the ones whose doctors prevented them from doing so (such as heart failure patients with low sodium), and also reducing the intake of salts and stimulants like caffeine.

Speaking about the main precautions to be adhered to by the heart patient in order to avoid a heart attack or stroke, Dr. Al Nemr confirmed that the patient should take medications on time and stay away from the factors leading to dryness such as exposure to the heat stress or walking in hot weather. He also mentioned the need for exercising in a fine weather, quitting smoking and eating a lot of vegetables and fruits which have been scientifically proven to reduce the occurrence of strokes. Dr. Al Nemr declined to identify a certain type of these vegetables and fruits. 

"The heart patient should not fast if he is in a late stage of heart failure, in which the patient suffers from dyspnea while on his bed or when going to toilets, with swelling in the legs and accumulation of fluids in the lungs," said Dr. Al Nemr, warning of the advanced stage of the heart artery pains when the patient feels a pain from any slight movement and remains in need of medicine on a continuous basis. "The patients suffering from uncontrolled blood or pulmonary artery pressure and those with a three-week heart attack should not also fast," Dr. Al Nemr concluded.

 



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