Diabetes sufferers urged to plan ahead for Hajj

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SHAFAQNA - Diabetes sufferers heading to Mecca on the Hajj pilgrimage have been warned to plan the management of their condition during their religious journey.

Thousands of British Muslims will fly to Saudi Arabia for the event, which falls between September 20 and 25.

Diabetes UK is urging Muslim diabetics taking part in the Hajj to plan ahead how they will manage their condition while away.

Pilgrims may walk up to 20 kilometres a day, so the charity is encouraging Muslim diabetics taking part to check their feet carefully before travelling.

It advises them to visit their GP if they have any concerns, or if they are not used to this type of activity, as foot problems are a well-known complication.

Diabetes UK warns it is important to wear footwear suitable for walking long distances throughout the Hajj and check feet every day for anything unusual such as sore spots, hard skin or breaks in the skin.

It also stresses that hot weather and physical exertion, combined with the travel, mean extra precautions need to be taken.

It has a list of five actions for pilgrims: n Saudi Arabia is two hours ahead of the UK, so think about how this affects the timing of medication; n If you take insulin, the hot climate may affect it, so test more regularly; n If you are carrying insulin and needles on the plane, ensure you have a letter from your GP; n Take twice the quantity of medicine that you normally use with you and pack snacks just in case your plane happens to be delayed; n Contact your insulin manufacturer to see if it is supplied in Saudi Arabia.

Juliet O’Brien, diverse communities officer at Diabetes UK, said: “Thousands of British Muslims travel to the Hajj every year including diabetics.

“The pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and there’s no reason their condition has to get in the way.

“What is needed is careful planning and talking to your GP.

“There are a lot of things to organise.

“We also encourage anyone planning to observe Hajj this year to get their feet checked before they travel.”

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