Every day is "take your diabetes to work" day
It's one thing to manage diabetes at home, where you have supplies, privacy and control over your life. But what about caring for yourself at work?
Diabetes is a 24/7 proposition. Even if you aren't monitoring your blood sugar levels multiple times a day, out-of-range numbers can leave you feeling sluggish, irritable, hungry or thirsty, and make it hard to do your job well.1 Taking care of your diabetes can help you feel—and do your job—better.
Some people wonder who they should tell about their diabetes. This is a personal decision, but here are a few ideas to consider.
If you work for a company with 15 or more employees, you're protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act—but only if you've told them that you have diabetes. The ADA requires that you be allowed "reasonable accommodation" to manage diabetes or other health issues.2
That can mean taking breaks to check your numbers, take medication, use the rest room or have a snack. If you have nerve damage, you can also request a chair or stool instead of standing. If you have vision issues, you may need a larger monitor. It all depends on your personal circumstances.
A coworker you trust
Low blood sugar is a horrible feeling that can affect anyone with diabetes. For people with type 2 diabetes, it can also be a side effect of some oral diabetes medications.3 As soon as you feel a low coming on, check your blood sugar. Keep hard candies or glucose tabs on hand to treat a low quickly. You may also want to make sure a coworker knows what symptoms to watch for and what to do in an emergency, should you find that you can't help yourself.
The whole company
Don't feel like you have to keep diabetes a secret. Being out in the open can be a great way to put rumors and prying eyes to rest. Sharing how you test, plan meals and work hard every day to stay in range may help people understand why breaks or occasional rests are needed. Rather than seeing your snack as "special treatment," they may recognize it as part of a larger, nonstop regimen—and they just might start to understand.
1American Diabetes Association. Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose). Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-gl.... Accessed April 21, 2017.
2U.S. Department of Justice. A guide to disability rights law. Available at: https://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm. Accessed April 21, 2017.
3WebMD. Diabetes: dealing with low blood sugar from medicines. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/dealing-with-low-blood-sugar-from-medicati.... Accessed April 21, 2017.