- You will probably feel better and have more energy.
- You can vary your activities more.
- You're not locked into having your meals at the same time each day.
- It can reduce the risk of birth defects.
Living with Diabetes
1 AnswerOne big reason to try tight diabetes control is to prevent complications later. But tight control has effects you can enjoy right now:
1 AnswerStarting a program of tight diabetes control is exciting. But it can also be overwhelming. How do you keep from running out of energy?
Here are some tips:
- Start slowly. For example, you might start by checking your blood glucose more times each day. Get used to that first. Then start multiple daily injections. Once you're used to those, add your new exercise program and make the changes in your diet.
- Be honest. If you are newly diagnosed with diabetes, look honestly at yourself. Are you still angry and depressed that you have diabetes? If so, you already have a big challenge facing you. You may want to wait to try tight control until after you've come to terms with the changes in your life.
- Keep your goals realistic. No matter how hard you try, your blood glucose readings will not be perfect every time. If they are often too high or too low, you should talk to your doctor about whether your plan needs to be adjusted. But if "wrong" levels happen only sometimes, that's life. With practice, you will become more skilled at choosing the right insulin doses for various situations.
- Take a break. If you need to, take a breather from the new routine. Having some time off may make it easier to stick to your plan when you start again.
1 AnswerIf you are fired from your job because of your diabetes, the first thing to do is to contact the American Diabetes Association so we can help you understand your rights and the legal processes available to you. You have a right to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state fair employment agency. You also may have other options available, depending on the situation, such as filing a union grievance or negotiating a return to work with your employer.
1 AnswerIf your employer has workplace conduct rules that are applied uniformly to all employees, you can be disciplined if your conduct violates these rules -- even if that conduct was because of diabetes (for example, your behavior was caused by hypoglycemia).
1 AnswerAn accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that enables a person with a disability to do the job. Employers are required to make "reasonable accommodation" if requested by an employee with a disability, unless the accommodation would cause an "undue hardship" on the employer because of significant difficulty or expense. The accommodations that people with diabetes need are usually easy and inexpensive.
1 AnswerAs a person with a disability, you are protected from discrimination because of your diabetes. This means that an employer cannot fail to hire or promote you because of your diabetes, cannot terminate you because of your diabetes (unless you pose a "direct threat"), must provide you with reasonable accommodations that help you perform the essential functions of your job, and must not discriminate with regard to employer-provided health insurance.
1 AnswerYour health care team (your doctor, dietitian, diabetes educator, and other health care professionals) should spend a lot of time teaching you about tight control of diabetes. Your team will help you make guidelines for how much insulin to take and when. You will also come up with guidelines for eating and exercising. These guidelines may change several times as you test them out.
You shouldn't try tight control on your own. A good health care team is a must. Choose a doctor who understands diabetes well or is willing to learn for your sake. Your doctor should have ties with other health professionals you need, such as dietitians and a mental health worker. If you live in a small town, look at your options carefully. You may be better off driving to a city to see a specialist.
1 AnswerAs a person with diabetes, you may need some small changes at your workplace so you can continue to succeed at your job. For example, if you use insulin, you might need to take breaks to check your blood glucose levels. If you have neuropathy, you might need permission to sit on a chair or stool. These are called "reasonable accommodations" and they are required by federal anti-discrimination laws. In plain English, they are changes that help people with disabilities compete for a wide range of jobs, excel in their work, and be treated fairly. Most people with diabetes only need minor changes that can be provided at little or no cost to their employers.
Your employer may have to change an otherwise valid workplace policy for you. You should not be denied a reasonable accommodation just because it goes against standard policies or because non-disabled employees are not entitled to it.
1 AnswerTo get tight control of diabetes, you must do the following:
- Pay more attention to your diet and exercise.
- Measure your blood glucose levels more often.
- If you take insulin, change how much you use and your injection schedule.
1 AnswerOnce you notify your employer about your request to take Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, your employer will give you paperwork that you and your doctor or your family member's doctor must complete. Your employer must give you 15 days to complete the paperwork. The doctor must provide specific information explaining why you need to take leave for your own or a family member's diabetes. The doctor must also state how long this need for leave will last. Saying that you or your family member has diabetes and that you may need time off is not enough to qualify for FMLA leave. The doctor may have to specify, for example, that diabetes requires regular doctor visits to monitor your diabetes care, adjust medication, and check for complications. Your doctor may also need to state that it will be medically necessary to take extended time off for surgery or to take shorter leave to treat hypoglycemia. Once you turn in all the paperwork, your employer generally will have to tell you within 5 days whether you qualify to take the requested FMLA leave.