Diabetes 9 to 5: InsulCheck’s Guide to Managing Diabetes at Work (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of a 2 Part Guide.

Diabetes and work can seem daunting and difficult to manage. How do you take account of food, medicines, rest, monitoring, exercise, and work, especially if you’ve got demands, deadlines, and a boss who is on your back? How do you deal with the stress?

1) Start Your Workday Right

It is crucial to have a satisfying and healthy breakfast that will keep you fuller for longer and set you up for the day ahead. Nutritionist Samantha Heller says, “when you have diabetes, especially if you are on medication, skipping breakfast can lead to dangerously low sugar levels." Not only is this dangerous, but it also affects your performance in work.

Heller says a healthy breakfast of fat-free yogurt, some whole-grain cereal, an egg white omelette, or even a whole-wheat bagel with cream cheese will help set the tone for a productive workday. Heller also highlights the importance of having a workday "meal plan" in mind - one that can help keep energy levels and concentration peaked throughout the day.

One way to do that is to bring your lunch and snacks from home. That way, you know exactly what you are going to be eating. For those who are insulin dependent, you should have food ready to eat following your injection. Doing so can prevent low blood sugar problems that may occur when there is too much time between your injection and your meal.

2) Diabetes on the Job: Testing Sugar Levels and Taking Insulin

At some point, you will need to test your blood sugar while you are on the job. Experts say a little planning can make it easier to fit doing so into your workday.

"What concerns many employers and other employees," Golden says, "is the blood and the instruments used to draw the blood. But if you prepare a discreet kit ahead of time, with a clean, neat way of disposing your lancets, there shouldn't be a problem."

Be sure to have a disposable system in your desk drawer along with a package of individually wrapped alcohol prep pads to wipe your finger before testing and to help insure both an accurate test and easy clean-up.

Sometimes it's impossible to get a minute of privacy at your desk to take your test. Then, says Golden, keeping all your supplies in a small bag makes it easier to sneak in a quick trip to the restroom. "Having everything together," she says, "will allow you to slip out and back in very quickly. Being organized is the best way to be discreet."

Next time will we will be discussing one of the biggest problems faced by those with diabetes in the workplace, and our top 'At-Work Tips'.

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