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Working with Type 1 Diabetes

This is purely based on my own experiences of working and dealing with my diabetes alongside of this. Please let me know in the comments your experiences of how you manage your blood sugars!

Diabetes comes with so many difficulties in normal life anyway. I found when I transitioned from part time work to full time, working 40 hours over 5 days a week really tough on my blood sugars. And actually I am still struggling with that now. 

Whether you have just been diagnosed and going back to work, coming out of your honeymoon period, or starting work for the first time. Diabetes is just difficult, as I am sure you all know, it throws multiple curveballs at us several times a day! 

It is so difficult to manage blood sugars when sitting at a desk, working for 8 hours + a day. When transitioning to a new job or environment, our blood sugars will alter due to increased stress or anxiety which never helps! When there is a complete upheaval of a routine, blood sugars like to punish us all. 

When I transitioned from part time work to a full-time salary role, I found that my insulin sensitivities increased as I became less activity. Not only did I need increased basal insulin, but my carb ratios went through the roof. I found it so interesting but annoying that this change occurred literally overnight. 

One way to combat this (seems to be working for myself at this moment in time), to complete exercise before your workday begins. Whether that is a 30-minute walk, HIIT workout, run or yoga. Personally, if I kickstart my metabolism, my insulin sensitivity skyrockets for at least the morning, let alone the whole day. If I can get a 10-15-minute walk in during my lunch break then I am very pleased! Although unrealistic!  

When I first started my new post, I was on injections instead of my insulin pump. And wow, I cannot even comprehend how nervous I was injecting in front of people I barely knew. But knew it had to be done, for once, my sugars were behaving, and I wanted to keep it that way! But like many others, nobody took any notice, they all knew I was a Type 1 Diabetic and understood that this was something I have to do throughout the day. I had a few of the classic questions of ‘Can you eat chocolate’ etc but no ‘Can you inject somewhere else please’ which was so nice! Just shows how in-sensitive some people can be! 

I wanted to be completely upfront about my diabetes, something I’ve been trying out. That I just tell them exactly what is going on, how I manage my diabetes, how regularly I have hospital appointments and just be as transparent as possible! And with that, any needs I have, such as working overtime on some days so I can attend hospital appointments are all granted without a second thought, if I am having a hypo, my colleagues are very respectful and understand that I shouldn’t be working on anything strenuous for the next 45 minuets after I have recovered and I’m sure will be very accommodating when my sugars are high and I am feeling sick!

Being upfront will eliminate any concerns they have and can answer all questions together kind of thing!!! 

Feeling guilty about having more time off sick or having more breaks during a shift is again completely normal. I think it is down to the fact that we don’t look disabled, so people just assume there is nothing wrong. But if you need 1 hour to recover from a hypo, you take that time. You need that to be able to work at the best of your ability and not just stumble through. As we have a disability and a chronic illness, we should actually have an increased sickness allowance due to the unpredictability of our diagnosis. This doesn’t mean that we have to use it each year but it is always nice knowing that if you have a hospital episode that you then aren’t going to return to work to a meeting about your attendance. 

Please let me know in the comments how you deal with your diabetes alongside work.

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2 thoughts on “Working with Type 1 Diabetes

  1. Hi, I am a Type 1 of 33 years. I am a mum of two and so now (for the last 5 years) work part time (4 hours a day til 7pm, 5 days a week) I am a cleaner on a ward in my local hospital) Because I am on my feet and rushing around busy, for my entire shift, and not allowed to sit down or take a break, I find hypos very difficult at work.
    I have at least one hypo every evening (every shift) tonight my cgm alerted me at 2.8!
    I am expected to complete a long list of tasks in the small amount of time I have and so stopping for a sit down to cure a hypo is out of the question, let alone being able to recover for 45mins. When I have a hypo each day I squeeze my lucozade or Lift shot as quickly as I can into me while chomping down a biscuit bar or two. I do all of this stood in a storage cupboard just off the main ward because we are not allowed to be seen eating or drinking on the ward, and then I rush straight back out to work to try to catch up.

    Now I have never fully discussed this with my managers (you’d think working in a hospital they would be more sympathetic) however they have strict rules on sickness and appointments etc as well as making sure you complete your work. So, I really don’t think they would take kindly to me if I told them each time I had a hypo I needed to sit down for 45 mins (believe me I wish I could as most days I feel I need some time to recover – it’s exhausting)
    Anyway I just wanted to wish you the best and tell you how lucky you are. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Sophie, it can be really tough but just letting your managers know that you are diabetic might be good! I use to work in hospitality where I was hardly allowed to check my blood sugars either. Maybe ask if you can 5 minutes to sort out your blood sugars, any time is better than none! If you think you should have some extra time and your managers are being difficult with it, you could possibly talk to your DSN and ask for a letter explaining?

      Just an idea! fingers are crossed that they become more understanding of your needs as a diabetic!


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