Diet-linked emergencies at city hospitals double

MUSCAT, JUNE 2 – Hospitals across the capital city have been witnessing a change in their daily rhythm for the last couple of weeks.
Unlike the rest of the year, medical emergencies, both in public and private sector hospitals, almost doubled during Ramadhan.
“There has been a significant rise in the number of patients.
Most of them come with complaints of gastrointestinal problems and need medication to ease stomach cramps”, said a doctor at Ruwi Health Centre.
Government clinics, which have an extended time till midnight, experience increased strain of receiving patients, whose number, medics say, almost doubled compared to the normal period of the year.
Normally, one week after the beginning of Ramadhan emergency rooms begin to fill with patients suffering from bowel obstructions, severe dehydration and so on.
Patients with diet linked disorders, diabetes and other metabolic syndromes crowd the hospitals.
The influx of patients continues even after midnight.
“It is usual to see more patients mainly with gastrointestinal complaints coming to the hospital during this period of time. Comparing with normal days, we are receiving 20 per cent more patients daily”, said Dr Basheer, senior critical care specialist at a city hospital.
He said that the number of patients being treated at the emergency section is much more than those coming to the outpatient department.
“Most cases relate to gastritis — an acute inflammation of the stomach — and gastroenteritis, an infection of the stomach and intestines together”, said Dr Basheer.
The visits normally start after 8 pm due to binge eating after prolonged fasting, he said.
Patients also come with vomiting and nausea and sometimes loose diarrhea. Bloating of the abdomen are also reported.
Dr Shashiraj Eashwrappa, consultant physician with a city hospital, said that the flow of patients has increased in the last few days with almost same cases similar to previous years.
He said that patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases might frequently visit the hospitals due to irregular sugar levels, blood pressure issues or acute exacerbation of cardiac problems due to fasting.
“All patients with chronic illnesses should visit their doctor, preferably two months in advance, for proper advice on fasting and medication adjustments during this month”, Dr Shashiraj advised.
He said that medication should be taken at the correct time and should not be skipped due to fasting.
The doctors also reminded about the Islamic law that outlines alternatives to fasting for those who cannot fast in Ramadhan due to medical or other reasons.
Those fasting persons, who work outdoors or under direct sunlight, may experience dehydration or other heat related illnesses such as heat cramp, heat exhaustion, and in extreme cases heat stroke.
The health experts univocally recommend them to drink plenty of water between iftar and suhoor.

SAMUEL KUTTY