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Living and Working with Diabetes: Management Strategies

April 30, 2024

Living and Working with Diabetes: Management Strategies

More than 5 million people in the UK are living with diabetes and more than 4.3 million are affected worldwide. 

Living with diabetes can present unique challenges, especially in the workplace such as having to miss work or need to have a lunch break at a set time. Understanding the nuances of this chronic condition is vital for maintaining your health. Explore essential strategies for managing diabetes effectively while balancing the demands of work.

Understanding Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is a life-long condition where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes involves the body's ineffective use of insulin or not producing enough of it. 

Insulin regulates blood sugar levels, and uncontrolled diabetes can lead to severe complications, including nerve and vascular damage.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have similar symptoms however they vary in their severity. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms or notice any changes in your overall wellbeing.

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Slow-healing sores or cuts
  • Frequent yeast infections

Health Implications and Prevention

Diabetes significantly increases the risk of various health complications, including blindness, cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. Understanding these risks is crucial for proactive management.

Implementing preventive measures is key to reducing the incidence of diabetes Type 2. Adopting a healthy diet low in sugar and saturated fats, maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular exercise, and avoiding tobacco products can mitigate the risk of developing diabetes.

Managing Type 1 diabetes can take time to get used to and it requires taking regular insulin injections. Monitoring your diet and choosing healthier food options that are lower in saturated fat, sugar and salt will help you to control blood fats and blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight. This ultimately can help with reducing the risk of diabetes complications.

Balancing Work and Diabetes Management

Managing diabetes alongside work responsibilities requires strategic planning and prioritisation. Integrating healthy habits like mindful eating and physical activity into your daily routine can help stabilise blood sugar levels throughout the workday. Lifestyle changes, including smoking cessation and moderate alcohol consumption, can also aid in diabetes management and even lead to remission for some individuals with Type 2 diabetes.

Regular Monitoring and Screening

Routine screening for complications associated with diabetes, such as eye exams, blood pressure checks, and kidney function tests, is essential for early detection and timely intervention. Proactive monitoring can prevent the progression of complications and improve long-term outcomes.

Living well with diabetes requires a proactive approach to health management, particularly in the workplace. By understanding the fundamentals of diabetes, adopting preventive measures, and adhering to prescribed treatments, individuals can effectively navigate the challenges of diabetes while thriving in their professional lives. Embracing a healthy lifestyle and seeking ongoing support from healthcare professionals are key steps towards achieving optimal health and wellbeing.

Helpful Resources

Explore TAC Employee Wellbeing Services