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Type 2 diabetes patient’s perspective on Ramadan fasting: a qualitative study
  1. Jun Yang Lee1,
  2. Chee Piau Wong2,
  3. Christina San San Tan3,
  4. Nazrila Hairizan Nasir4,
  5. Shaun Wen Huey Lee1
  1. 1 School of Pharmacy, Monash University, Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
  2. 2 Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia, Bandar Sunway, Malaysia
  3. 3 School of Allied Health Sciences, SEGi University and Colleges, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
  4. 4 Klinik Kesihatan Putrajaya, Putrajaya, Malaysia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Shaun Wen Huey Lee; shaun.lee{at}


Objective We evaluated the beliefs, experience and diabetes management strategies of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) Muslim patients that chose to fast during Ramadan.

Research design and methods A semistructured focus group interview was conducted with 53 participants with T2DM. Participants were purposefully sampled and asked to share their perspective on Ramadan fasting. All interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically.

Results Participants reported optimism towards fasting during Ramadan, as they believed that fasting was beneficial to their overall well-being, and a time for family bonding. Most participants made limited attempts to discuss with their doctors on the decision to fast and self-adjusted their medication based on experience and symptoms during this period. They also reported difficulty in managing their diet, due to fear of hypoglycemia and the collective social aspect of fasting.

Conclusion Muslims are optimistic about their well-being when fasting during Ramadan. Many choose to fulfill their religious obligation despite being discouraged by their doctors. Collaboration with religious authorities should be explored to ensure patients receive adequate education before fasting during Ramadan.

Trial registration number NCT02189135; Results.

  • fasting
  • qualitative study
  • ramadan
  • type 2 diabetes
  • focus group

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  • Contributors All authors named contributed substantially to the document. JYL conducted and transcribed the interview, interpreted the results and wrote the draft manuscript. SWHL obtained the funding, designed the study and provided support in editing the manuscript. CPW, NHN and CSST contributed to the study design. All authors approved the final version.

  • Funding Funding of this study was through the e-Science fund from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Malaysia [03-02-10-SF0238 (MOSTI)], Telemedicine Cluster, Tropical Medicine and Biology platform, Monash University Malaysia (52140757-314-00) and SEGi University Research Fund (SEGi/2013/SKK/04/1).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Monash University Research Ethics Committee (CF14/1977 - 2014001016) and the National Medical Research Register (NMRR-14-177-19466).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.