Diabetes and work

People with diabetes can successfully undertake all types of jobs. However, they still need to manage the disease at their working place. And here difficulties may arise depending on the type of employment, overall health and the working schedule.

In order to prevent diabetes from interfering with your career, here are effective measures diabetics can take to successfully handle diabetes, no matter what job they have:

  1. Be open. You may not feel comfortable discussing your disease with the coworkers. Nevertheless, tell them about your possibility of having a hypoglycemia episode, the symptoms to watch for and how they can help you in a crisis. At least one person should know about your condition and where your supplies are, so that they could help you if needed.
  2. Plan for success. Before starting work, get enough of sleep, never skip breakfast and have a glass of water before you head in. This will lower your stress and will keep blood sugar steady.
  3. Plan to check blood sugar. Depending on the work space, you might be able to perform blood glucose testing right at your desk or in the rest room.
  4. Plan to take medication. If you have to take type 2 diabetes medications, take them at set times, such as with lunch or before a daily morning meeting. If you use insulin and find it embarrassing to make an injection in the presence of your colleagues, consider using an insulin pen or an insulin pump, which is more discreet.
  5. Keep insulin cool. The proper temperature for insulin to work properly is 36 to 46F. If there’s no fridge at your office, store your insulin in an insulated lunch bag or get a small size cooler. Avoid extreme temperatures as warm or frozen insulin won’t work the way it should.
  6. Resist food temptation. Any office can often be a hotbed of hard-to-resist foods – from morning doughnut runs to birthday celebrations. Get ready for carb cravings and keep healthy snacks at hand. If you do yield to temptation, go for small portions and keep a close watch on your blood sugar levels.
  7. Prevent sugar slumps. Stash almonds or protein bars at your work place so you could healthfully manage midafternoon sugar slumps. No-carb sugar free drinks like green or iced tea will also help you to perk up.
  8. Make time to move. If working at a desk, try to build physical activity into your working schedule. For example, take a short walk back and forth the hall every 30 minutes or do muscle stretches at your desk.
  9. Take care of your feet. Since diabetics are more prone to foot problems, care should be taken not only at home, but at work as well. This is particularly true if you work on your feet. Therefore, always wear comfortable shoes and hosiery. Put your feet up when sitting and from time to time move your toes and ankles up and down. This will help blood circulation in the lower limbs so you could avoid major foot problems.
  10. Do not deprive yourself. Of course it is boring and almost impossible to chew raw vegetables every time when your coworkers order takeaway foods. And you don’t have to deprive yourself of simple pleasures all the time! Go for thick-cut chips – they absorb less fat during cooking, try lean burgers, leaving out mayonnaise and order more salad.
  11. Make healthier choices. If you are celebrating a special occasion at a restaurant or have a business meeting over lunch, diabetes is no barrier too. Eating out with diabetes can be a part of balanced diet when healthier choices are made. Choose a light and refreshing starter, scan the menu for steamed or boiled dishes and keep an eye on the portion size of your desert. Plan a brisk walk after the meal to keep your blood sugar stable.
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