Taking Care of Your Diabetes When You Are at School or Work
by Rebecca J. Stahl, MA
Like most people, you are busy—trying to accomplish a lot in a small amount of time. But when you have type 1 diabetes, you have to keep track of your blood glucose levels, give yourself medication, eat right, and exercise. These steps are essential to your health, and skipping any one of them can negatively impact your diabetes. When your days are filled with school or work, how can you put your health first and live your life?
Being at School TOP
You have five classes, gym, and after-school activities, but you also have diabetes. What’s the best approach to manage all of this? Have a diabetes management plan in place and share this with the school staff—nurses, teachers, coaches, guidance counselor, cafeteria manager, and even bus drivers. The more people who know about your condition, the more support you will get.
Your parents can schedule a meeting at the school to go over your plan. This is important because everyone who works with you should understand the basics of diabetes and be familiar with complications that you can have. Also, you need the flexibility to test your blood sugar, give yourself an insulin injection, and have a snack or drink to treat low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). You may also need a schedule where you have lunch at the same time every day.
These steps can help you to get through your school day:
Being at Work TOP
If you have diabetes, laws in the United States, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act, stop employers from firing, refusing to hire, or refusing to promote you because of your disability. The laws also mean that your employer must make accommodations for you. These can involve giving you extra time to test your blood glucose level, give yourself an injection or medication, and eat snacks and lunch. If you have problems related to diabetes, like poor vision or foot pain, your employer must also accommodate you. For example, if your job usually requires that you stand up for long periods, you may be allowed to do your work sitting down.
Following these strategies can help you manage your diabetes while climbing the corporate ladder:
Whether you are preparing for an exam or trying to meet a deadline at work, you still need to monitor your diabetes. This all comes down to being prepared and having good communication with your doctor.
American Diabetes Association
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
Canadian Diabetes Association
Public Health Agency of Canada
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Last reviewed September 2012 by Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 9/25/2012