Diabetes Type 2
Managing diabetes at work and driving
Many people we talked to continued to work after being diagnosed with diabetes. Support from employers in being flexible about working hours and the Access to Work scheme in providing equipment helped several people to continue working.
Tina's employers are very supportive and Access to Work have provided her with a special camera...
Does it mean you read more slowly?
I'm incredibly [slow], [laughs] I read incredibly slowly now, yes.
Sometimes the type of work people did make it hard for them to keep working, especially if their job was physically demanding. People who had neuropathy (nerve damage) in their feet found it difficult to continue doing jobs which required walking long distances or standing for long periods of time. One man, who was a paramedic, said he took early retirement when he started taking insulin because he didn't want to be driving at high speed. A hairdresser found it hard to find time to eat properly and after developing neuropathy could no longer stand on her feet all day. Eating at the right time takes extra care and planning when working in a physically demanding job.
Duncan has no problem working and driving for long hours but his neuropathy means that walking to...
But it's just that walking any distance is'Well, I don't know whether it is because I haven't been walking much because of my feet, but now walking much is difficult anyway. So it has had a big effect in that respect. It has certainly had a big affect on my future plans. It probably hasn't affected day to day all that much. I mean the main thing was when I couldn't drive for periods, because I mean [the village] is a bit, sorry this place is a bit isolated, but you know there are buses I managed perfectly ok, but I... Distance would be difficult... To go any great distance without it being a hassle, and I do rely on my car.
While working as a paramedic, Gareth always made sure he had food or money with him, so that he...
And there were times when we would come to the end of the shift and we had a red call, and the red call was a transfer to London, and you've got to go, so instead of working say, as it was eight or twelve hour shifts then, you'd be there working twelve, sixteen hours. And whilst it's not right, but these were the conditions that you had to work in because you couldn't get anybody else to take them, because everybody else was working at the same type of shift and you would have to go, especially if somebody needed a child going up to Great Ormond Street or anything like this, or somebody going for a liver transplant, you had to go with it, and you can't say, 'Oh I can't go. I've got to have something to eat.' You had to get up and go straightaway.
However desk-based jobs can also cause problems for people with diabetes. Some people whose eyes were affected said that they found reading difficult, particularly reading from a computer screen. One man said he had become more sensitive to fluorescent lights at work and he felt it created tensions amongst his colleagues that he needed to have the lights turned off.
Andy works in IT and now finds it hard to read from the computer screen which is stressful.
And I'm also, we've got an awful lot of fluorescent lights at work and I've found that I've become very much more sensitive to the fluorescent lights, so I have to upset all my neighbours by having the lights turned off where I sit. Whereas everybody else likes it nice and bright, I don't want it bright. So it creates little tensions and little niggles.
Some people felt that there were times when they were less productive at work, either because of a rise in blood glucose levels or general fatigue.
Andy says that people at work don't understand diabetes and how it affects him. His working day...
I have one of the best sickness records at work. I have so little time off compared to other people. Every few years I have a lot of time off because of orthopaedic things, and then I'll go for three or four years without even having a day off for a cold' That won't be taken into account. You know, 'Oh you had three months off last year for diabetes, why - it's only a sugar thing isn't it?' People don't understand what it is. They don't understand that you can't see, you can't think, you know, you spend a lot of time asleep. They don't understand that now with diabetes you're not processing your food so you don't get the energy, you haven't got the energy level that you had before. You fatigue a lot more.
My work pattern used to be I'd get to work about 6 o'clock in the morning and I would work through sort of 4 -half 4 something like that. When I was diagnosed as diabetic the first thing work said you can't come to work that early, we can't have you in the office, you have to, you can't come in before 7 o'clock, when other people start to arrive at work. You can't work late into the evenings. You cannot be in the office alone' Which is fair enough. So it means I'm spending less time at work but not only am I spending less time at work, but I'm also less productive when I'm at work, I'm less effective. So it's a bit of a double whammy. So I've had to come to terms with the fact that from now on, you know high let's try and back track and down grade to having a job. Get rid of the stress.
Occasionally Lawrence's blood glucose is very high which makes him feel sluggish in the mornings...
A few people were concerned that they might have difficulty getting another job if they needed to. Although many people with diabetes would not consider themselves disabled, diabetes is listed in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) which protects people with disabilities from being treated differently to other employees. Advice about workplace rights are availble from the Equality Advisory Support Service.
Driving and diabetes type 2
You may need to tell DVLA (Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency) about your diabetes, depending on how it’s treated and the licence you have.
If you drive a car or motorbike and your diabetes is treated by diet or tablets you don't have to do anything. If you have a bus, coach or lorry licence you must fill in form DIAB1 and send it to DVLA.
If your diabetes is treated by insulin all drivers by law must inform the DVLA.
Last reviewed March 2016.
Last updated March 2016..