Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Diabetes 9 to 5: Tips to Help You Manage Your Diabetes at Work

Controlling symptoms is critical to controlling your diabetes. Here's how experts say you can do the job while on the job.

Diabetes on the Job: Testing Sugar Levels and Taking Insulin continued...

It may seem that using insulin on the job would be an even more difficult task. But Randall J. Urban, MD, director of the Stark Diabetes Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch, says it's not true. "The new insulin pens don't need refrigeration," Urban says. "And they can be used pretty much anywhere, very discreetly. You just need to take some time to practice."

What can also help, he says, is the new long-acting insulin. Long-acting insulin can minimize the number of injections you need over the course of a day. "This has been a fantastic advance for diabetes patients," he says. "So if you're currently not using a long acting insulin you should speak to your doctor about whether it's right for you. It can make managing diabetes in the workplace much, much easier."

If you must refrigerate your insulin and either don't have access to a refrigerator or don't want co-workers to know, products like the IceyBag can help keep your medicine cold throughout an entire day. It features a small, refreezable insert that fits in the bottom of a cooler bag, and it will stay cold for up to eight hours.

Diabetes on the Job: To tell or Not to Tell

One of the biggest work issues faced by people with diabetes is whether or not to tell the boss, or even co-workers, about their disease. Either way, it's important to know that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits potential employers from asking if you have type 1 diabetes or asking questions concerning insulin use or other prescription drugs.

Once you have the job, however, the decision is yours as to whether or not to keep it personal or let others know. That said, experts believe it is important that at least one person in your workplace know of your condition, particularly if you are using insulin. That person could be a co-worker, nurse, or supervisor.

"You should tell someone who is physically near you at work that you have diabetes," says Strumph, "particularly if you take insulin. Give them a description of what happens when blood sugars drop too low. And tell them the basic emergency treatment for this."

Moreover, he says, always have glucagon with you -- either in your desk or on you. And make certain that someone at work knows how to give it to you in the event of an emergency. Glucagon is an injectable medicine that can raise blood sugar in an emergency.

Synder agrees. "You have to treat low blood sugar swiftly. If you teach your co-workers about that, it can not only save your life in an emergency, but also help them to better understand your behavior if and when your sugar goes low." Synder tells WebMD that if your sugar goes low, you can become cranky or even prone to emotional outbursts.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article