Diabetes in the Workplace

For this post I’m going to refer to fellow blogger The 5th Diabetic (find out the reason behind the name in his About me section). He’s a sufferer of type 1 Diabetes, posts interesting and insightful blogs about it and participates in the weekly @OurDiabetes tweetchat sessions to answers people’s questions on anything related to his disease.

“A personal perspective about life and living with Type 1 Diabetes”

You can find his blog here. You won’t regret reading his amusing posts.

Get in on the weekly tweetchat sessions through #OurD if you have any questions or comment below.


Today he posted about diabetes in the workplace. He himself doesn’t encounter any problems in the workplace with his condition but he acknowledges that this isn’t the case for every diabetic. He says suffering diabetes is nothing to be ashamed of and you shouldn’t hide it from anyone, neither at work.

Personally I think this is true, if you feel like you should hide it from your boss or coworkers, you make a problem out of something that isn’t your fault to begin with. However I can also understand that you don’t want everyone knowing about it not only for personal reasons but also for professional reasons. For example you might think you have less chance at a promotion if your boss knows about your condition. This example is clearly a case of discrimination but unfortunately happens to certain people in the workplace, as you can see in the figure below.


He also explains how he manages his hospital appointments, hypoglycaemic episodes, etc.

Furthermore, he makes a very good observation:

“None of us asked to be diabetic and to have the need to go treat a hypo but we have to do this because it is a medical condition. It isn’t as if we are taking time out from the working day to go have a cigarette (as many people in the working world do and are not penalized) so why should someone with a recognized condition be made to feel bad about that?”

I think this puts the whole topic into perspective and makes you realise the severity of the problem. What’s more is that diabetics don’t only have the stress from work but on top of that also the stress from managing their diabetes as you can see in the figure below.


Be sure to check out his other posts as well. He recently participated in a debate #TeamPump versus #TeamPen which is about using a insulin pump or a Multiple Daily Injections (MDI) insulin pen respectively.

Another recent post considers the psychological side of being a diabetic, also very interesting.

reference images: Glu Results, Diabetes at the Workplace


6 responses to “Diabetes in the Workplace

  1. I agree with what you are saying here. As long as you’re healthy, there isn’t the slightest problem. But the moment you get ill and you need your money more than ever, things really become hard. Luckily there are still companies who are willing to give people with an ilness a chance. And why, above all, would someone with diabetes be less productive? These people surely know how to fight and work hard!

  2. I find it strange that people would have it more difficult to get a promotion when they have diabetes. They are as capable to do their job as other people they only need to monitor themselves and with the technologies you posted about in previous blogs I believe this monitoring will become easier. This makes the difference with a healthy person even smaller. I think, like you, that they shouldn’t be discriminated for this!

  3. You should read this article. It’s about people being discriminated at work for having diabetes and being fired too. But it’s interesting because the companies have their say as well as to why they fired those diabetics: “…confusion about whether diabetes is a legitimate disability” and “concern about whether it is overly expensive, hazardous and disruptive to accommodate the illness”.
    What’s even more incredible is what Fran Carpentier, senior editor of a magazine and outspoken advocate for diabetics nonetheless, has to say about it: “I wonder if I owned my own company if I would hire someone with diabetes”. The harsh truth right there.


  4. Than companies also shouldn’t hire people who smoke cigarettes… Checking your blood sugar perhaps takes a few minutes, smoking a cigarette on the other hand takes much longer I think.

  5. That’s the irony I think; They don’t want diabetics to been seen checking bloog sugar at their desk, yet this way they loose much less time compared to smokers who go outside to have a cigaret. Do they want the diabetics to go outside too and check their blood there? It’s a paradox if you ask me.

  6. It makes me feel compassionate towards the people who suffer from the genetical type of this disease. They can’t help it at all and don’t pose too much of a disturbance, but it’s the ignorance of a lot of people that hinders them.

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