How Diabetes Can Affect You At Your Job

diabetes job issuesYou’ve called in sick six days this year already and it’s only February. Last week you passed out in the lunchroom, because you had to wait in line for the microwave. Your blood sugar took a tumble. There is no doubt this is all getting overwhelming for you. First, the diagnosis. Next, you need to deal with checking blood sugars. Taking medicine. Eating on time. Now, you need to learn to balance work and diabetes.

With all of these factors, no one told you how diabetes can affect your job. This article outlines some of the things you may face at work.

Disabilities Act

Before we look at some of the hurdles you may need to jump, let’s take a look at your rights as an employee with diabetes.

As long as your employer as 15 or more employees, they need to adhere to the Americans With Disabilities Act. Unless your health condition “threatens” the safety of you or others, your employer must give you all the same benefits as other employees and you cannot be fired. They also must make reasonable accommodations for your health like; breaks to check your blood sugar and eat. They also have to give you adequate time off for doctor’s appointments and they must offer sick leave under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act). Keep in mind that each individual state in the U.S. may have other laws, and other countries may have different laws.

Also, there are some jobs you may be restricted from doing if you take insulin. These include; truck drivers on long haul, and airline pilots to name a few.

Diabetes in the Workplace

It was concerning to hear how some diabetics deal with the issue. I was doing diabetic teaching and asked one of my regular patients, “How do you get through your work day with diabetes?

Her answer terrified me!

“Well, I rarely eat breakfast because I’m always late. I take my meds and head for the door with a granola bar. At work, I check my blood sugar whenever I can. We grab lunch out, and lately I’ve been stressed. We don’t get much time for anything but work.” I explained to her that she needed to take time out of her workday to take care of her diabetes.

Her next answer scared me even more!

“My boss understands that I am allowed to take time to check my blood sugar and eat. But last week, I asked for a day off to go see my nutritionist and his answer was, “you eat fine and it seems like your playing the diabetes card again for time off.

This is a huge issue that needs addressed. You have to become one with diabetes in all areas of your life. It has to be fluid. It goes with you wherever you go. Here are some of the issues you may find:

A Boss That Doesn’t Get It

bossWhether you work for a company of hundreds of employees or five employees, you need to have a boss that understands. Your boss needs to understand that in order for you to stay healthy and be at work, you need to manage your diabetes properly while you are on the clock. That may mean allowing you to:

  • Take break periods to check your blood sugar and eat
  • Take time off to visit the doctor or diabetic education appointments
  • Use sick days to manage your diabetes or rest when you are ill
  • Have a private and quiet space to check blood sugar and take medications
  • Have a right to your privacy about your health (need to know basis)

When you are diagnosed, make sure you check your company policy on disability in the workplace. Know your state and federal laws on this and print up information for your boss if necessary.

No Time For Breaks

breaksThings get busy. It’s totally understandable. Two workers called in sick, your boss is in meetings all day. You seem to be the only person in your department that can do most of the work. How are you supposed to fit breaks in?

When you have diabetes 24/7 and you work 8, 10, 12 hours of that time, diabetes goes with you. This means you will need to figure out a way to still check your blood sugar, take your medication and most important, eat.

This can be tricky if the whole office is “out-of-commission.” Unfortunately, diabetes doesn’t take breaks, so you have to. While you are plugging away doing all these tasks, your blood sugar could secretly be higher than it should be. Or, missing a snack or meal could crash your sugar levels.

Diabetic Emergencies

emergenciesThis is one very serious issue you need to be prepared for at work. It depends on how much you want to share with your boss and co-workers, but this is really important. You may have a diabetic emergency at work, and people need to know how to handle this. Here is a scenario:

You start feeling dizzy at your desk, so you take your kit and go into the bathroom to check your blood sugar. As soon as you walk through the bathroom door, everything fades. You just passed out from low blood sugar. Now what?

A) The next person to come in has no idea what is going on. Still, they call 911 and it takes 15 minutes for help to get to you. You have no medical alert bracelet identifying your condition. It takes another 15 minutes to get you to ER and the doctor’s to figure out that your blood sugar was B) Your wearing a medical alert bracelet.

Your co-worker walks through the door and sees you passed out on the floor. They take a look at the bracelet and see that you are diabetic. They see the kit on the floor. In it you have an emergency glucose rescue pen. Your boss has all the information on using it and your co-worker quickly finds them to give you the shot.

Prepare yourself and your co-workers for diabetic emergencies that can happen during the workday.

Restricted Types of Work

restricted-jobs-for-diabetesOne downfall of how diabetes can affect your job, is what type of job that you do. Certain occupations have restrictions on diabetics that take insulin or do not have their blood sugar under good control. Occupations that may be restricted include:

  • Active Duty Military
  • Long Haul Truck Drivers
  • Police Officer
  • Firefighter
  • Ambulance Drivers
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Public Transportation Drivers
  • Railway Workers (near the track)

There have been advances for diabetics in some of these job positions. It depends on the city, town, state. It also depends on the employer. Some companies or government agencies have adopted, “blanket policies,” regarding diabetics.

Advances in rights for diabetics are making breakthroughs everyday. Some areas are allowing public servants to work as police or fire with physical clearance from a doctor, and strict blood sugar control.

About Author

This post was written by Nadia Kim from NYC. She is a certified diabetes educator and a Registered Nurse at Bronx. Nadia has contributed for various websites such as ADA, WebMD, HealthLine, HowStuffWorks and you can find her recent post which was featured on diabetes community website. You can find more about Nadia on her facebook or her twitter profile here.

H Pylori What Is It? How To Test For H. Pylori

Although there are many bacteria and other microflora which reside in the digestive tract, there is only one known to live comfortably in the acidic area of the stomach and that is H pylori (Helicobacter pylori). Although many things have been learned in recent years about this particular bug there is still much to know and it intrigues both health professionals and scientists on many levels.

Not only has H Pylori now been attributed to causing some stomach and duodenal ulcers, but it is also implicated in a condition called gastric atrophy. This is where the cells lining the stomach can be paralyzed or be irreparably damaged causing the sufferer many digestive problems.

Although it used to be considered that high acidity of the gastric acid, usually together with stress, resulted in ulcers, H pylori is now thought to be the causative factor. However only a small proportion of people infected with the bacteria will actually develop ulcers and the largest proportion, around 80 per cent, will remain asymptomatic.

The reason this particular bacteria can survive in the acid environment of the stomach is that it releases a substance which neutralizes the acid around it and makes the environment conducive to survival. The bacteria also manage to avoid the acid because they bury into the walls of the stomach and literally hide away from it. The shape of the bacteria, which is known as helical, has a distinctly corkscrew appearance and it has been suggested that this shape has evolved over time to allow the bug to make the holes in the lining of its environment. It’s shape is literally a survival mechanism.

Although it is most commonly known for existing in the stomach, H pylori is also found in the duodenum or upper end of the digestive tract. This is the area of the intestine which is closest to the stomach and which also has a more acidic pH which is conducive to this resilient bacteria.

Because it is found in both the stomach and the duodenum and these are the areas where ulcers most commonly occur, then the relationship between illness and organism seems conclusive.

How To Test and Diagnose H Pylori

Because the symptoms of H pylori can be indicative of many other conditions patients can often suffer for long periods without testing being carried out. However this situation is more prevalent relating to digestive distress and gastric inflammation rather than ulcers because in the last few decades H pylori has been widely recognized as being responsible for this particular issue.

The most common test used is a blood assay but this method of diagnosis is open to being skewed by several mitigating factors including any recent antibiotic treatments. Unfortunately it is also unable to establish if an infestation of H pylori has also been cleared so often clinicians have to resort to other methods to establish if treatment has been successful.

Breath tests similar to those used in other bacterial infestations are commonly used to establish not only if H pylori is evident prior to treatment but also to establish if it has been eradicated.

Stool samples often return the most accurate results when it comes to non-invasive tests for H pylori. However the patient will be required to abstain from certain medications, foods and dietary supplements sometimes for as long as 2 weeks prior to the samples being taken.

Endoscopy is the most invasive test, and is often only used as a last resort. It is though extremely accurate. Most patients and their clinicians will however often only resort to this test when all other assays have failed to confirm H pylori infection and yet the patient is still symptomatic.

Preventing H pylori How to prevent from getting it

H pylori is present everywhere in the environment and the current school of thought recommends normal hygiene procedures such as washing hands before eating and after toileting. In unfamiliar environments again standard hygiene practices should be employed by avoiding using untreated water for drinking, washing food or brushing teeth.

H pylori is also known to be transferred via body fluids such as saliva. If you know you are infected or are aware someone else is, then refrain from exchanging fluids until the bacteria has been eradicated. It is also sensible in these circumstances to ensure that articles such as toothbrushes and other objects relating to personal hygiene are kept from coming into contact with others.

There are also several indications that our lifestyles may contribute to providing an environment which is conducive to H pylori. Although we now understand ulcers are not caused by high stomach acid, what we do know is that ulcers often exist in people who are emotionally stressed. Taking time out to eat in a relaxed manner, chewing food well, relaxing after a meal and avoiding being stressed out by our daily activities all appear to help our digestive tract produce the correct amount of acids and enzymes that it should – and which H pylori dislike.

Processed foods contain many compounds which either lack nutrition or contain ingredients which are conducive to the survival of pathogenic bacteria of all types. Eating more fresh, organic produce and ensuring it is washed and prepared properly all help in preventing and eradicating H pylori.

Taking more time out not only to eat food, but also to prepare food which is healthy, all combine to aid digestion and help ensure the environment of the stomach and digestive tract are places where H pylori simply don’t want to live.

Signs & Symptoms of Candida in Children

An unfortunate fact of life as parents is that it can often seem as if you spend the majority of your time watching for injuries and checking for illnesses. However, while you may know what the symptoms of strep throat, ear infections and sprained ankles are, it is equally important to learn about yeast infections and kids. In addition, although the use of recent antibiotics may increase the likelihood of a yeast infection occurring, a yeast infection can also occur without an obvious cause. As a result, it’s important for every concerned parent to be aware of the symptoms of yeast infections in their children.

What You Should Know About Your (Mostly) Healthy Kids and Symptoms of Yeast Infections

If you thought that the chances of your little one developing thrush disappeared when he or she graduated to the sippy cup, you may be surprised to learn that oral thrush is a problem for countless children each year. Although babies may not always need medication to treat it, it is a good idea to always speak to your pediatrician about appropriate recommendations.

In addition, boys and girls may develop a yeast infection after a course of antibiotics and if he or she suffers from asthma, they are also more likely to develop an oral yeast infection. The use of steroids and some inhalers are known to cause oral yeast infections, which are also known as thrush.

You should also remember that although yeast infections are commonly associated with their private parts, it can also appear under the arms, between fingers and toes, the folds of the neck, etc. If it seems itchy, raised, injured or otherwise unusual or has a discharge, it is best to speak with your pediatrician.

What You Can Do To Help Your Child Get Rid Of It

An interesting aspect of yeast infections is that since there are so many different types of yeast that can lead to the problem, there is not a single one-size-fits-all treatment option. For instance, if the yeast infection is appearing as thrush and your child has asthma, it will first be necessary to educate your child about appropriate ways to clean their mouth after using an inhaler or breathing treatment. Alternatively, improving their tooth-cleaning regimen may also be required.

With that in mind, an oral rinse to clean the yeast overgrowth is commonly prescribed. If the problem has occurred repeatedly or if it has shown up on more than one part of their body, blood tests may be necessary. In some cases, there is an underlying problem or a severe overgrowth of the yeast and continuing to treat the symptoms topically will only allow the problem to get worse.

Another aspect to remember when planning the care for your child’s yeast infection is that although antibiotics are not its only cause, it can certainly make the problem worse. As a result, pro-biotics are often a good idea since they encourage the functionality of your child’s immune system. That means that he or she will be more likely to recover without additional medication.

Another option is the use of anti-fungal medications. They can be applied over the area of skin that is showing the signs of yeast overgrowth or taken orally. In severe cases, or if your child has other health problems that could be further compromised from the yeast infection, your child might need to get anti-fungal medicines intravenously. It may also be useful to recommend two or more of those options.

A final option to consider is most applicable to parents of young children. If your child is still in diapers and you notice an unusual rash in that area, you should be aware of other facts. For example, a good rule of thumb is that if the rash is raised and does not diminish with the use of a diaper rash cream, it is frequently a yeast infection. Therefore, you should remember that the over-the-counter creams and pills marketed to women are not always appropriate for the more delicate skin of young children. Your doctor may suggest other creams that are safer, like the anti-fungal creams already mentioned for other body parts.

In conclusion, yeast infections are common in children, but could develop into bigger problems. When dealing with them for the first time or if they return repeatedly, it is important to speak with the pediatrician to be sure that the right treatments have been made.


Not your average website