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How to Adjust to Life With Diabetes

Diabetes Support Groups
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.A support group can help introduce you to other people who are going through the same struggle you are.

One way to help yourself is to get involved in diabetes organizations. Your participation in these groups helps in a couple of ways. First, you meet others with some of the same problems and concerns you have. You learn from each other's experiences. You problem-solve together. You learn that you are not the only one who feels as you do or has been through what you've been through. You may even make lifelong friendships.

Diabetes AdvocacyHave you ever felt discriminated against in the workplace because you have diabetes? If an employer has ever refused to allow you time to take insulin or test your blood, to eat meals or snacks, or to store necessary diabetes supplies in your work area, you know what it's like to be made to feel different as a result of a medical condition or made to feel as if your condition makes you somehow less competent in the workplace. People with diabetes and other medical conditions have support. Diabetes is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The purpose of the Act is to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities; it became effective in July 1992 for employers with 25 or more employees and July 1994 for employers with 15 or more employees. The Act ensures equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

In addition, it states that "reasonable accommodation" must be made for persons with disabilities. Reasonable accommodation includes making existing facilities accessible to employees with disabilities; restructuring a job; modifying the work schedule; acquiring new or modifying existing equipment or devices; and modifying examinations, training materials, or policies to make them appropriate for individuals with disabilities. The employer, however, need not provide accommodation if doing so would be significantly difficult or expensive (it would incur "undue hardship"). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigates complaints of violations of the Act.

The Act protects your rights in the workplace. You can help by observing these tips for managing diabetes in the workplace.

  • Make sure someone knows you have diabetes. Your condition does not need to be public information, but someone -- a supervisor or coworker -- should know you have diabetes, how you treat it, and where you keep your supplies.
  • Tell your employer what you need to manage diabetes. If you need to eat a snack or take your lunch at a certain time, for example, let your employer know this. Most employers try to be accommodating.
  • If altering a work schedule proves difficult or problematic, you may be able to change your diabetes management schedule. For example, if taking lunch at noon is not possible or desirable (maybe the lunch hour is the busiest time of day at your job), you may be able to adjust your insulin or add a snack in the morning.
  • If possible, keep your diabetes supplies in a desk drawer or somewhere close to your work site. If you need to test during the day, you may be able to test quickly and inconspicuously at your desk and get on with your work.
  • If you believe you are being discriminated against because you have diabetes, call the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission office at 1-800-669-4000.

Of course, it's important to stress that living with diabetes means living a full life and enjoying all that is has to offer. In the next section, we learn how to travel safely with diabetes.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.