A diagnosis of diabetes charges you with a task that requires a lifelong commitment: controlling the disease. This means following a daily routine to help keep blood sugar consistent.
Managing your condition while on the job can present special challenges, but a little planning can make it easier. Use these tips to keep your diabetes in check while you’re at work:
• Tell your supervisor you have diabetes. Exlain that you can control the condition by eating at specific times, monitoring your blood sugar, taking your insulin shot or medication and keeping scheduled checkups. You may feel uneasy about sharing this personal information or requesting special accommodations, but by informing your employer of your condition, you become protected under law against possible discrimination for your disability. You may want to tell a co-worker about your condition and explain the steps to be taken if you have a medical emergency.
• Maintain a regular, healthy meal plan. Try to eat your meals at the same time every day. Use portion sizes that keep your blood sugar under control. Join the gang for lunch, if you want—just use the same guidelines for healthy eating that you normally do.
• Be consistent when monitoring your blood sugar and taking medication or insulin shots. If you have an office, it’s easy enough to close the door. Otherwise, talk to your employer about a suitable location. Some computer programs allow you to set an alarm that can serve as a reminder. If your job entails spur-of-the-moment meetings, tasks or appointments, get your doctor’s input on handling meal and medication times.
• Be prepared. Keep a stock of medication and supplies (syringes, needles and a container for safe disposal) handy. Store snacks that can raise blood sugar quickly.
• Learn to handle stress. Stress can drive up blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. (It can also lower blood glucose in some people with type 1 diabetes.) Find ways to unload work stress or try to cope with it better through relaxation techniques or exercise.
Some jobs can be hard on people with diabetes. If you have trouble controlling your blood sugar level and often feel dizzy, weak, tired or nauseous, you may need to avoid professions that require you to drive a lot or transport people.
Always remember, your well-being comes first. With planning and precautions, though, you can excel at your job and stay healthy, too.