During Ramadan, over one billion Muslims worldwide abstain from food for a month to seek blessings from the all-mighty. Now, a research has shown that such fasting makes people more vulnerable to a rare type of stroke.
While other studies maintain that Ramadan fasting does not affect the rate of arterial stroke, this study mainly focused on cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST).
CVST is a rare type of stroke that most often affects young adults and children and is more common in women.
In this study, led by Mohammad Saadatnia, MD, of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, the researchers examined 162 people with CVST strokes admitted to three hospitals in Isfahan, Iran, over a five-year period.
Out of these, 33 had strokes while fasting; 129 had strokes during the other months of the year. The average number of strokes during the month of Ramadan was 5.5, as against 2.0 during the est of the year. However, the average age and percentage of men versus women was the same in the two groups.
"These results need to be confirmed by other studies, but they should be looked at carefully. Coexistence of usual risk factors, such as oral contraceptive and coagulopathic disorders, along with dehydration in patients while prolonged fasting can be the reason for increased susceptibility to CVST. People and their physicians need to be aware of possible complications of prolonged fasting," said Saadatnia.
The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago.