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How To Manage Diabetes At Work

What do you do to manage blood sugar levels at work? How do you check your blood sugar at work? People with diabetes can relate to these questions because until sometime ago these questions might have stopped them from taking up certain jobs.

However, things have changed now with the advent of technology and awareness about diabetes and they allow you to manage diabetes efficiently - be it workplace or home.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when the body can't produce enough insulin to metabolise glucose or the body is unable to utilise the insulin efficiently [1] . Diabetes can also lead to hypoglycemia (extremely low blood sugar levels) and hyperglycemia (extremely high blood sugar levels) [2] , [3] .

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Types Of Diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes happens when the immune system mistakes the body's own healthy cells to be foreign invaders. It attacks the cells and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. As a result, the body is unable to produce enough insulin [4] .
  • In type 2 diabetes the body produces insulin, but it is not able to use it effectively [5] .
  • Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women and it disappears after the mother gives birth [6] .

There are many complications associated with diabetes which include damage of the eyes, heart and kidney problems, foot ulcers and, skin and mouth conditions. But when it comes to working in offices, diabetic people face certain other difficulties. This is where diabetes management at the workplace comes in.

How To Manage Diabetes At The Workplace

People with diabetes find it difficult to work in different shifts as the timing of diet, sleep and medication needs to be well-balanced. Those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes sometimes miss their food due to their busy schedule. This affects the blood glucose level largely [7] .

More so often, people with diabetes face stigma at the workplace because of monitoring blood glucose levels, dietary restrictions, insulin injections, obesity and hypoglycemic attacks says study [8] .

Due to the stigma, they experience feelings of anxiety, fear, blame, guilt, embarrassment and low self-esteem [9] . As a result, the person goes into depression which further increases the rate of complications like sexual dysfunction, macrovascular problems and retinopathy[10] .

So here are some effective ways to manage diabetes at work.

1. Testing Blood Sugar At Work

For managing diabetes, testing your blood sugar levels at work is the best thing to do. It is better to keep all of your supplies like glucometer and insulin injections ready at your desk so that if you find the need to take insulin, you will be able to take it on time. You can also add a reminder in your phone to remind you to check blood sugar or take insulin when you have a busy schedule.

2. Have A Healthy Breakfast

Having a good breakfast is necessary for diabetic people. According to a study, high-energy breakfast is associated with a significant reduction in overall postprandial hyperglycaemia (PPHG) in diabetic patients over the entire day [11] . If your office hours are early, prepare your breakfast the night before so that you can eat it instantly in the morning. Go for fresh fruit shakes, breakfast burrito, scrambled eggs and toast, whole grain cereals with yogurt and fruits.

3. Take Breaks Often

If your job requires you to be outdoors, you are getting enough exercise. But if you have a desk job, you have to take a break every 1 or 2 hours to manage diabetes at work. Because prolonged sitting hours could lead to premature cardiovascular death and increased obesity risk [12] . Taking a short walk in between work, walking after your lunch break or taking stand-up meetings will reduce glucose levels.

4. Pack Healthy Snacks

Eating healthy snacks throughout the day can help maintain your blood sugar level. But it is essential to choose snacks that are high in fibre, protein and healthy fats as these nutrients will control your blood glucose level. Some of the best snack options are hard-boiled eggs, yogurt with berries, nuts, sliced apples with peanut butter, whole-grain crackers, etc.

5. Lower Your Stress

For people with diabetes, stress can cause a prolonged rise in blood sugar level [13] . Therefore, it is essential to lower your stress to control your blood sugar levels. To reduce stress, try doing meditation, deep breathing or take a short walk outside the office.

6. Drink Plenty Of Water

Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day can help you manage diabetes at work. Besides eating on time, it is necessary to keep your body hydrated all the time, especially for people with diabetes. Because if your blood sugar levels are high, there is an increased risk for dehydration as high blood sugar lets you urinate often [14] . Avoid drinking caffeine and sugary drinks as they dehydrate your body.

7. Care About Your Feet

Wearing proper footwear is also a part of diabetes management at work. If your work demands to be up on your feet all the time, wear appropriate footwear to prevent a foot injury. Wearing tight footwear can cause blisters, swelling, red spots and cuts. Also, you should wear absorbent socks to prevent the feet from feeling extreme heat and cold and keep the foot skin soft according to the American Diabetes Association.

8. Speak To Your Colleagues Or Supervisor

There are many diabetic people who don't share anything about their condition. But it is essential to make them aware of the warning signs of low blood sugar because, during an emergency situation, your colleagues or supervisor can aid in the treatment. In addition, let them know that taking frequent short breaks between work and checking your blood sugar levels will help you in managing diabetes better [15] .

Other points to keep in mind.

  • Always keep your diabetes supplies and food in your desk drawer.
  • Work in a standard shift instead of rotating or split shifts.
  • Avoid taking tasks that are too stressful.
  • Avoid carbohydrate foods at work.

ALSO READ: Here Is How Guava Leaves Help People With Diabetes!

To Conclude...

Diabetic people can perform their jobs efficiently and there is nothing to experience fear or anxiety at the workplace. Taking care of yourself should be the foremost priority so that you are able to perform well at your job.

View Article References
  1. [1] World Health Organization. (1989).Diabetes(No. Unpublished). Geneva: World Health Organization.
  2. [2] Cryer, P. E., Davis, S. N., & Shamoon, H. (2003). Hypoglycemia in diabetes.Diabetes care,26(6), 1902-1912.
  3. [3] De Rekeneire, N., Peila, R., Ding, J., Colbert, L. H., Visser, M., Shorr, R. I., ... & Vellas, B. (2006). Diabetes, hyperglycemia, and inflammation in older individuals: the health, aging and body composition study.Diabetes care,29(8), 1902-1908.
  4. [4] Rewers, M., & Ludvigsson, J. (2016). Environmental risk factors for type 1 diabetes.Lancet (London, England),387(10035), 2340-2348.
  5. [5] Wu, Y., Ding, Y., Tanaka, Y., & Zhang, W. (2014). Risk factors contributing to type 2 diabetes and recent advances in the treatment and prevention.International journal of medical sciences,11(11), 1185-200.
  6. [6] Anand, S. S., Gupta, M., Teo, K. K., Schulze, K. M., Desai, D., Abdalla, N., Zulyniak, M., de Souza, R., Wahi, G., Shaikh, M., Beyene, J., de Villa, E., Morrison, K., McDonald, S. D., Gerstein, H., South Asian Birth Cohort (START) - Canada Investigators (2017). Causes and consequences of gestational diabetes in South Asians living in Canada: results from a prospective cohort study.CMAJ open,5(3), E604-E611.
  7. [7] Kahleova, H., Belinova, L., Malinska, H., Oliyarnyk, O., Trnovska, J., Skop, V., Kazdova, L., Dezortova, M., Hajek, M., Tura, A., Hill, M., … Pelikanova, T. (2014). Eating two larger meals a day (breakfast and lunch) is more effective than six smaller meals in a reduced-energy regimen for patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised crossover study.Diabetologia,57(8), 1552-1560.
  8. [8] Liu, N. F., Brown, A. S., Younge, M. F., Guzman, S. J., Close, K. L., & Wood, R. (2017). Stigma in People With Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes.Clinical diabetes : a publication of the American Diabetes Association,35(1), 27-34.
  9. [9] Schabert, J., Browne, J. L., Mosely, K., & Speight, J. Social stigma in diabetes: a framework to understand a growing problem for an increasing epidemic. Patient-Patient-Centered Outcomes Res. 2013; 6 (1): 1–10.
  10. [10] Goldney, R. D., Phillips, P. J., Fisher, L. J., & Wilson, D. H. (2004). Diabetes, depression, and quality of life: a population study.Diabetes care,27(5), 1066-1070.
  11. [11] Jakubowicz, D., Wainstein, J., Ahrén, B., Bar-Dayan, Y., Landau, Z., Rabinovitz, H. R., & Froy, O. (2015). High-energy breakfast with low-energy dinner decreases overall daily hyperglycaemia in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomised clinical trial.Diabetologia,58(5), 912-919.
  12. [12] Dunstan, D. W., Kingwell, B. A., Larsen, R., Healy, G. N., Cerin, E., Hamilton, M. T., Shaw, J. E., Bertovic, D. A., Zimmet, P. Z., Salmon, J., … Owen, N. (2012). Breaking up prolonged sitting reduces postprandial glucose and insulin responses.Diabetes care,35(5), 976-983.
  13. [13] Surwit, R. S., Schneider, M. S., & Feinglos, M. N. (1992). Stress and diabetes mellitus.Diabetes care,15(10), 1413-1422.
  14. [14] Burge, M. R., Garcia, N., Qualls, C. R., & Schade, D. S. (2001). Differential effects of fasting and dehydration in the pathogenesis of diabetic ketoacidosis.Metabolism-Clinical and Experimental,50(2), 171-177.
  15. [15] Ruston, A., Smith, A., & Fernando, B. (2013). Diabetes in the workplace - diabetic's perceptions and experiences of managing their disease at work: a qualitative study.BMC public health,13, 386.
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