Home Diabetes Care Diabetes at Work: Self-Advocacy, Management Plan Suggestions + Community Stories

Diabetes at Work: Self-Advocacy, Management Plan Suggestions + Community Stories

Diabetes at Work: Self-Advocacy, Management Plan Suggestions + Community Stories


Diabetes affects every aspect of your life, including your job. Whether your diabetes is visible due to a beeping continuous glucose monitor (CGM), it’s good to step away to treat low blood glucose (BGL) or give yourself an insulin shot—chances are high that diabetes-related stress peaks at work.

Nevertheless, several aspects, like knowing your rights or having a high or low blood sugar motion plan, might help reduce diabetes management anxiety and improve your overall work experience.

Your rights at work

Within the workplace, type 1 and kind 2 diabetes are considered disabilities. This classification gives you specific rights, comparable to:

Particular laws protect you from discrimination within the workplace, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. You’re not required to reveal your diabetes, and your employer can’t ask about health conditions you would possibly have. Nevertheless, it’s necessary to think about that having people around you who learn about your diabetes and provide help to in case you experience a high or low blood sugar event could save your life.

Managing highs and lows at work

Diabetes doesn’t stop at work—you’re certain to experience high and low blood sugar levels in some unspecified time in the future. Nevertheless, there are steps you may take to be proactive and handle these blood sugar events more comfortably and confidently.

In case of low BGL, consider these questions:

  • Can I keep snacks with me in any respect times?
  • Where can I store snacks at work?
  • Do I actually have extra snacks in my automobile? 
  • Have I set a calendar reminder to ascertain my snack supply commonly?
  • Do I actually have glucagon at work, and do my coworkers understand how and when to make use of it?
  • Are my coworkers aware of the symptoms of hypoglycemia?

In case of high BGL, ask yourself:

  • How can I manage high BGL during a gathering? Is there a option to pause the meeting, or wouldn’t it be higher to step out for a number of minutes?
  • Where can I keep my insulin while working outside?
  • Can I keep water with me throughout the day?
  • Would an insulin pump or multiple day by day injections (MDIs) work higher for me with my job?
  • Do I actually have extra supplies with me in any respect times?
  • Are my coworkers aware of the signs of hyperglycemia?

In either case, it’s sensible to have an additional blood glucose monitor (BGM) or CGM with you and ensure your emergency contact information is current. 

Managing diabetes at work: stories from the community

The truth of managing diabetes at work looks different for everybody. Beyond Type 1 sat down with diabetes community members Eric Williamson and Matt Rye to debate their experiences managing diabetes at work and the recommendation they’d give others.

Eric’s story: overcoming obstacles to return to firefighting

Eric Williamson is a fireplace captain paramedic who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in 2015 on the age of 33. Eric told his fire department inside days of his diagnosis to maintain himself, his crew and the general public protected. 

After being diagnosed, Eric’s fire department wasn’t sure move forward. Though his team was aware of how delicate and unsure diabetes will be, as diabetes emergencies are amongst the hearth station’s most typical calls, they were unsure handle it internally.

Eric’s occupational medicine doctor required him to be faraway from his job as a primary responder and placed in an administrative position due to National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 1582 standards, which recommend six months of statement after a medical diagnosis. Due to his occupational health and safety background, Eric was accustomed to these standards. Still, he needed to turn out to be his own advocate. 

You possibly can’t let people put you in a box,” Eric says. “I knew only I may very well be my very own advocate with my employer and doctors. Initially, I needed to fight and prove to them that I could personally and professionally manage and handle the day by day burden of T1D.”

During these six months, Eric worked closely along with his endocrinologist and diabetes educator to administer his diabetes. After he met the NFPA 1582 standards, he returned to his role as a primary responder.

Today, Eric deals with uncertain meal times, sleep schedules and workloads, requiring day by day planning to keep up his health with diabetes. Eric’s diabetes management includes having a “go bag” available on the hearth engine and a smaller bag attached to his firefighting protective gear. Each packs include fast-acting glucose sources and an additional BGM.

“It does take day by day work, each physical and mental, but the advantages of that work are priceless,” Eric says.

Matt’s story: transparency helps everyone

Very similar to Eric, Matt Rye, a union steamfitter living with diabetes, has to work out his path to navigating it as easily as possible within the workplace. A part of this for Matt includes open communication and raising diabetes awareness along with his colleagues. 

Matt is open to discussing his diabetes at work, which tends to return up naturally during lunchtime. He says he’s never experienced a negative response when telling his coworkers about diabetes. At any time when Matt must treat low or high BGLs, he simply tells them what’s occurring.

Matt says telling his coworkers has benefited him in multiple ways and has taught him arise for himself.

“I’m not ignoring an enormous a part of who I’m as a result of the fear of the opinions of others,” Matt says.

Matt’s story attests to the advantages of revealing diabetes at work, but everyone has to come to a decision for themselves. Should you’d prefer to share but don’t wish to tell your whole team, consider sharing with one or two coworkers you trust.

Crafting your individual stress-management and self-advocacy plans

There isn’t one correct option to handle your approach to diabetes at work—you need to do what feels good for you. Eric and Matt’s experiences provide some examples and make clear what that process could seem like.

Knowing your rights as an worker with diabetes is incredibly necessary in crafting your diabetes stress-management and self-advocacy work plans. Discussing your plan with folks already in your team will be equally helpful. These people is perhaps your close friends, family, spouse and even members of the diabetes community.

Connect with like-minded individuals who understand the ins and outs of life with diabetes on the Beyond Type 2 Community app. Dive into conversations around diabetes at work, stressors, self-advocacy and way more!

Educational content for newly diagnosed individuals with diabetes is made possible with support from Abbott, makers of the Freestyle Libre 3 system, a founding partner of Beyond Type 2. Editorial control rests solely with Beyond Type 2.


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