National Diabetes Month, Week 2: Employees

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It’s the second week of National Diabetes Month, a month devoted to increasing public awareness about diabetes management and prevention. Last week’s blog entry, "National Diabetes Month, Week 1: Caregivers," focused on tools that can help people who care for others with diabetes understand the condition and avoid "burning out." This week’s focus is on diabetes in the workplace.

Managing your diabetes at work can raise several issues. There’s the question of whom at the office to tell about your diabetes. There are also the issues of stress and depression and how they affect both your diabetes and your ability to work effectively. While there are no easy answers to these questions, you can check out the following resources from for more discussion of these issues and tips for dealing with them:

  • Deciding how much to share. Therapist Joe Nelson’s blog entry “To Tell or Not to Tell, That is the Question” addresses the personal, medical, and legal aspects of the decision about whom at the workplace to inform about your diabetes. You can share your own story or thoughts on this topic by leaving a comment at the end of the blog entry.
  • Handling stress at work. Another blog entry by Joe Nelson, “The Weight of Work Gets Heavier,” reveals that excess stress at work may trigger the development of obesity. The entry then delves into steps you can take to cope with stress in the workplace, including meditation, communication, and getting away from your desk.
  • Depression treatment through work. The recent news story “Treating Depression Through the Workplace” highlights a study in which an employer provided enhanced access to depression screening and treatment for some of its employees. This undertaking saved the employer money by increasing employee productivity, showing that it may be in the best interest of both employees and employers to help employees get the mental health treatment they need. Depression occurs more frequently in people with diabetes, as several recent Emotional Health blog entries attest, and it often goes undiagnosed and untreated.

If you’re an employer and want to take action to help your employees prevent or control diabetes, you may also want to check out the American Diabetes Association’s Web pages “Diabetes in the Workplace” and “Winning at Work.” These pages offer suggestions and tools that can help you raise diabetes awareness at your company. The government-sponsored Web site also has many useful tools for employers.

Next week, we’ll discuss the “faces of diabetes” around the world.

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