When television's perennially popular Mary Richards walked into WJM's Minneapolis newsroom in 1970, she did more than show the world a single girl could "make it on her own." The award-winning actress who portrayed her -- Mary Tyler Moore -- also showed us diabetes and a career could coexist.
Moore was diagnosed with adult-onset type 1 diabetes in the 1960s, several years before her Emmy-winning show began. But that didn't stop Moore from pursuing her career or turning the world on with a smile.
Diabetes is a serious disease that can cause debilitating nerve pain.
Today, millions of people afflicted with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are following in Moore's footsteps. They're refusing to let diabetes get in the way of their careers.
"I made a decision early in my life to find a career where diabetes and success could coexist," says Paul Strumph, MD. Strumph is chief medical officer of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He also has type 1 diabetes. "I don't wear it like a badge," he says. "But clearly my career has not suffered because of my diabetes."
The same is true for San Diego resident Aaron Synder. Synder was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when he was 20. Today, at age 30, he's a successful trader. "I have a job that requires me to be at work before 5:30 a.m., and I sometimes stay until 5:30 p.m.," Synder says. "I'm continuously surrounded by free candy, sodas, and chips on a daily basis. But I still manage to keep my blood sugar under control and not let my illness interfere with my job." In addition to his job, Synder, is a patient counselor and is also writing a book to help other people with diabetes gain control of their life and career.
It isn't always easy to do what Synder and Strumph do. Both agree that having diabetes does present some workday challenges. But, says endocrinologist Lauren Golden, MD, knowledge is the key that can turn obstacles into opportunities.
"The more you know about your diabetes," Golden says, "and the more you know about controlling your blood sugars, the better off you'll be." Golden is a diabetes specialist at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. She tells WebMD that the more you know, the better prepared you will be to deal with any work situations that arise, "including explaining your condition to others if you need to."
To help you put your best work-foot forward, WebMD asked a panel of patients and experts for tips and advice about controlling diabetes in the work place. What they said can help you gain control not just of diabetes, but of your occupation as well.
Diabetes on the Job: Start Your Workday Right
Everyone is strapped for time in the morning. But, nutritionist Samantha Heller, MS, RD, CDN, says, never skip breakfast, particularly on a workday. Heller is a dietitian and nutrition adviser for JourneyForControl.com, a diabetes education site. "When you have diabetes," Heller says, "especially if you are on medication, skipping breakfast can lead to dangerously low sugar levels." That, she points out, can not only affect your health, but also your safety. "Often," she tells WebMD, "it can have an impact on your job performance too."
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