With Ramadan almost two-thirds over, most fasting people in Qatar have gotten the hang of not eating themselves into the hospital after sunset.
Still, ER departments across the country are continuing to treat a large number of patients with gastrointestinal distress this month.
Many of these people have broken their fasts with unhealthy food choices and sugary, caffeinated drinks, said Dr. Saad Al Nuaimi, senior consultant at Hamad General Hospital’s Emergency Department.
In a statement, he said the overall number of ER patients at his hospital has stayed almost the same this month compared to the rest of the year.
However, he added:
“It is usual to see more patients with gastrointestinal complaints due to over-eating (during Ramadan). Most cases present with abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, and constipation.”
Making bad food choices during the holy month can spur a host of health issues, including:
- Constipation: Al Nuami said this is due to a lack of water and physical activity while fasting, and/or to eating food that is lacking in fiber;
- Headaches: These are often prompted by drinking lots of caffeinated drinks like soda, coffee or tea when breaking the fast;
- Mood swings and irritability: Such feelings can be caused by dips and peaks in blood sugar; and
- Vomiting: This can occur when a person’s body rejects the food they’ve consumed due to extreme overeating.
To keep stomach problems at bay, Al Nuami said a little moderation goes a long way.
He recommended that iftar be a light meal, such as some dates and soup, and that suhoor be balanced, fiber-rich and not too large a meal.
He also suggested that diners avoid carbonated drinks and try to exercise between iftar and suhoor.
Over-eating isn’t the only issue that causes Qatar ERs to be busier in Ramadan.
Especially around sunset, car crashes become more common during the holy month as people hurry home or to friends’ houses to break their fasts:
“These accidents are mostly due to speeding, lack of concentration, particularly if using a mobile phone (either calling or sending messages while driving) or breaking traffic rules,” the doctor said.
Al Nuami also highlighted an increase in domestic accidents around this time, particularly in the kitchen.
He added that the victims of these incidents are often children, so he recommended keeping them out of the kitchen during iftar food preparation, and ensuring a First Aid Kit is on hand at home at all times.
More Ramadan coverage here: