During the month of Ramadan, there are changes in diet and quality of food consumed by individuals. This can be caused by the consumption of food in a fairly large portion in two times, namely the meal and breaking the fast. These changes can cause metabolic changes in the body, and can have an effect on one's health.
Heart and blood vessel disease is the number one cause of death in the world. Ramadan fasting can cause drastic changes in lifestyle for 1 month and can affect risk factors for heart disease and blood vessels such as coronary heart disease and stroke.
The risk factors most associated with the incidence of coronary heart disease and stroke are blood fat levels, coagulation and blood clotting factors, high blood pressure, and smoking habits. Blood lipid levels are affected by changes in diet and types of food, consumption of processed sugars, and physical activity. Research shows that fasting during Ramadan can affect a variety of risk factors above.
Blood fat levels
Fat is one of the main factors causing heart and blood vessel disease. Fat can infiltrate into the lining of damaged blood vessels and cause atherosclerosis, which is narrowing and blockage of blood vessels. Research conducted by Mohsen Nematy (2012) concluded that there was a change from the fat profile and the ratio of good fats and bad fats during Ramadan fasting. Blood cholesterol levels decreased from 193.4 ± 51 mg / dl to 184.3 ± 42 mg / dl after Ramadan, as well as triglyceride levels which decreased from 4.5 ± 1 mg / dl to 3.9 ± 1 mg / dl and bad fat, namely LDL. In addition, it was also obtained an increase in good fat, namely HDL after Ramadan fasting.
High blood pressure
In people with high blood pressure, the heart must work harder in pumping blood compared with normal people. This can cause heart fatigue, and can occur enlargement and thickening of the heart muscle, to heart failure. High blood pressure can also cause brain blood vessels to burst causing hemorrhagic strokes. During the month of Ramadan, there is a decrease in blood pressure in people who are fasting, namely a decrease in systolic blood pressure from 132.9 ± 16 mmHg to 129.9 ± 17 mmHg, whereas in diastolic blood pressure, there is no significant decrease.
Insulin and homocysteine
Research conducted by Shariatpanah shows that changing diet to twice a day during Ramadan can improve the condition of insulin resistance in diabetics. Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the body, and an increase in blood homocysteine is a risk factor for a person to develop heart and blood vessel disease. Although not significant, there is a decrease in blood homocysteine levels when a person is fasting.
Obesity is a risk factor for many metabolic diseases. Weight loss and body mass index can be found and can not be found in people who are fasting, this can be caused by calorie intake that does not decrease significantly during fasting.
Fasting that is safe for people with heart disease
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Reviewed date: September 6, 2017 | Last Edited: September 6, 2017
- Nematy, Mohsen. Alinezhad-Namaghi, Maryam. Mahdavi Rashed, Masoud et al. Effects of Ramadan fasting on cardiovascular risk factors: a prospective observational study . Nutrition Journal. 2012, 11:69.
- Greetings, Amar M. Salim, Imtiaz. Al Suwaid, Jassim. Ramadan Fasting and Cardiovascular Disease in the Effects of Ramadan Fasting on Health and Athletic Performance . USA: OMICS Group eBooks. 2015.
- Pasha MJ, Pasha HC. The cardiac patient in Ramadan. Avicenna J Med. 2016, 2: 33-38