Dr. Mootaz Derbala of HMC:
Patients with stable liver conditions can fast during Ramadan without possible complications.
First- Year Liver transplant patients and those with acute Hepatitis, Esophageal varicose, and ascites should not fast for health Reasons.
Dr. Mootaz Derbala, Sr. consultant of Gastroenterology and Hepatic diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation, stated that the majority of liver patients with stable conditions can fast the month of Ramadan without possible complications, however patients with acute hepatitis, Esophageal varicose, and ascites and Hepatic Encephalopathy (Coma), should refrain from fasting as it may adversely affect their health conditions. Patients with chronic liver disease but whose conditions are stable can fast during Ramadan without possible complications, and perhaps, fasting may rid such patients of excess liver fat.
“Late stage liver disease patients with conditions such as varicose veins, ascites, Hepatic Encephalopathy (Coma), and comorbidities such as diabetes should refrain from fasting as it may pose a threat to their health. The majority of patients with Liver diseases such as liver immunodeficiency patients, congenital liver disease, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C, may fast after consulting their attending physician, Dr. Mootaz Derbala added.
“Liver patients who intend to fast the month of Ramadan should adhere to healthy dietary practices and have balance diets saying: "It is important to put more focus on food quality. We advise fasting liver patients to break fasting with a light sweet drink, have a prayer break, and then take their breakfast meal. The breakfast meal should comprise of carbohydrates, fruit sugars, and proteins with minimal quantities of fat, especially for fatty-liver patients, and adequate amounts of fluids to prevent dehydration.
To achieve optimal function of the liver, liver patients should have a balanced diet inclusive of all food groups; cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat, beans, milk, and oil, in addition to fiber-rich foods such as wholegrain bread, rice, fruits, and vegetables. They should avoid fast food, including deep-fried food and raw or uncooked oysters, Dr. Derbala explained”.
Liver transplant patients:
Liver transplant patients should refrain from fasting within the first year of such transplant. A patient who has completed one year or more since they had their transplant may fast the month of Ramadan upon consulting their physician, who would ensure the proper function of the transplanted liver.
Liver transplant patients who intend to fast the month of Ramadan should rearrange immunosuppressant and oral medications’ timings whereby they take them at Iftar and Suhoor time. Patients who are on diuretic drugs or Esophageal varicose medications cannot fast the month of Ramadan for health reasons.
Patients with unstable condition and unadvanced liver disease may encounter health problems during their fast. Signs of these health problems include dizziness and paleness of the skin. Should these signs appear, patients are advised to break their fast. Alcoholic patients should seize the opportunity of Ramadan fasting to get rid of liver problems by avoiding alcoholic drinks. For patients with liver cirrhosis, quitting alcohol drinking can stop further deterioration of the liver and help restore health.
Liver patients are also advised to refrain from smoking as it aggravates their condition and can adversely interfere with liver disease medications. Dr. Darbala pointed out”.