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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 102-121

Ramadan fasting in health and disease (2020): A narrative review

1 Department of Medicine, Dubai Medical College; Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Rashid Hospital, DHA, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
2 Department of Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Medical University of Bahrain, Adliya, Bahrain
3 Department of Medicine, Dubai Medical College, DHA, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Khadija Hafidh
Department of Medicine, Dubai Medical College, Dubai
United Arab Emirates
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmbs.ijmbs_35_21

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The medical literature on health aspects of Ramadan fasting (RF) is widely spread in many journals of varying access, making it less readily available to those interested in the subject. We performed a nonsystematic review of the international literature from a major online database (PubMed in 1 year [2020]). The search term “Ramadan fasting” was used, and relevant literature was narrated in a concise thematic account excluding diabetes. The publications spanned fundamental, clinical, ethical, professional, cultural, and advocacy facets. The publications predictably crossed the conventional disciplinary lines and geographical locations and appeared in journals with different access systems. The contents are presented under the emerged themes depending on the retrieved literature. This year, the basic coverage included changes in physiology, nutrition during Ramadan. However, the clinical issues included a more comprehensive range such as the impact of RF on the liver and gut, and endocrine conditions such as hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency. Coverage also included chronic kidney disease, maternal health and fetal well-being, cardiovascular medicine, nature and function of eyes, and neurological conditions, especially epilepsy. Sports medicine and athletes' well-being received somewhat prominent coverage. Other researchers focused on documenting patients' and health-care professionals' perceptions, attitudes, and practices during Ramadan. Health aspects of RF received a sustained academic interest with a broad spectrum in 2020. This narrative provides a scoping overview to help researchers and clinicians catch up quickly with state-of-the-art science today.

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