Hypoglycemia Affects Productivity at Work

Hypoglycemic Incidents Can Force Diabetics to Miss Work

| Feb 21, 2012

A survey of type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany indicates that more than one in every five have arrived late at work or not shown up at all because of a hypoglycemic episode the night before.

The survey, sponsored by Denmark-based drug maker Novo Nordisk, asked 1,404 people aged 18 and older if hypoglycemic incidents affect their productivity at work. About 22.7 percent said that episodes the night before had forced them to arrive late at work or miss an entire day. An almost equal percentage-18.3 percent--said that at-work hypoglycemic episodes have forced them to leave work early.

In a hypoglycemic episode, blood sugar plummets to dangerously low levels, bringing on trembling, sweating, confusion, and rapid pulse. If left untreated, the patient can slip into a coma. Treatment calls for a rapid infusion of glucose to bring blood sugar levels back up. Such incidents can be exhausting, causing patients to require observation and rest that can cut into their normal work day.

The study can be found at Valueinhealthjournal.com.


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Categories: Blood Sugar, Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Hypoglycemia, Low Blood Sugar, Novo Nordisk, Type 1 Issues, Type 2 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 10 July 2011

Imagine that, having an incurable disease leads to occaisional missed work.

Posted by Anonymous on 12 July 2011

This is so true! Try to convince a non-aware non-diabetic boss to understand!!

Posted by Anonymous on 12 July 2011

Being a type 1 for 30 years, I've never missed a day of work or been late due to hypo conditions. Have I treated a low prior to work? Yes. And have pulled myself together and happily resumed my day. This report seems off to me. There are more people that use excuses not to be at work or contribute to bad health than those of us greatful to be productive employees managing our health the best way possible.

Posted by Anonymous on 13 July 2011

I've been a late onset type 1 since 1992, and on a pump since 1996. I had numerous hypo episodes while at work (before going on the pump) and a handful since then, and NEVER gone home, nor "come in late" nor "missed a day".

Are sudden, severe "lows" exhausting? Yes. Can you get your sugars back up to a reasonable level, and continue work (especially office work)? Usually!

I admit, I had a sympathetic boss at the time, who would make me go eat a couple of sugar pills, or a candy bar, if he saw me spacing out.

Seems to me that some folks might be looking for an excuse to go home early, or skip a day.

Posted by chanson3633 on 14 July 2011

I think the survey also said that 78% of type 1 and type 2 have NEVER been late to work because of a hypo event. The way the first paragraph is written is sounds like, on any given day, 22% of the diabetics were late to work due to a hypo. That's not correct.

I think I have missed work once or twice due to a hypo event during the 32 years i've been working. Those were occasions when i had to go to the ER and was nauseous for hours and hours. Since being on the pump - zero missed work.

Posted by Anonymous on 9 January 2012

everyone's different. our body don't all work the same you know. good for you, if you have found your steady medium with your blood sugars but when i have a low i feel awful and its not an excuse! i get on with it. i get hypo's mainly in the morning because i am still adjusting my dosage with the hospital. i dance a lot and exercise loads so don't you dare try saying its bad health! you arrogant person. i've had diabetes for 12years and since then going through my womanly growth spurt have had to adjust my insulin levels constantly for my active life style. i have never used my diabetes as an excuse nor have i tried to get out of work for it but i would much rather try learn more about how to control my diabetes with my body rather then resent it.

Posted by Anonymous on 9 January 2012

also being diabetic.... maybe when you next have a hypo in the morning and your body has shut down parts of you body to keep you vital organs alive... why don't you try making that phone call to work saying i'm going into a coma now so i won't be making it in today.... Ironic isn't it seen as Some People Actually Love Work and because we have one hypo we get ridiculed for it.

Posted by Anonymous on 21 February 2012

I have had many hypos in my working years. I've been in a coma at 6 o'clock in the morning and still pulled myself together to get to the 9am meeting. I've treated lows at my desk even. Not a big deal. I'm not afraid of lows because I've had so many of them. But, there have been maybe three times where I was in a coma until 10am- thus making me late for work. Thankfully I've gotten the insulin requirements adjusted so I don't have to go through that anymore. But, it's definitely a difficult process. I've left work early once because my pump didn't deliver. I drove directly to the ER and they treated me because I was in ketoacidosis. I believe these studies are accurate. Just because one diabetic is lucky and can manage their diabetes without complications, doesn't mean we all are.

Posted by Anonymous on 21 February 2012

This type of story just blows me away. Sure, after I crash I want to sleep for an hour ro so afterwards, especially a hard hitting low, but I've never left work because of one nor not show up for one that happen "the night before?". Yes, it sucks, and yes, the one time I crashed at work it was nerve wrecking - but I used it as a teaching tool for my co-workers who helped me, and moved on. (I still wanted that nap though :O )

Posted by Anonymous on 23 February 2012

I tend to agree with the other T1's who say that they haven't had problems going to and functioning at work after a low. I've been T1 for 26 years (no complications and counting) and have also never missed a day due to my T1. However, in agreement with the last comment, not every T1 experiences the same management. Sometimes the best control in the world will not result in consistent blood glucose levels, esp. with those who can't affording a pump and remain on less-optimal insulin regimes like NPH. My 8 yr old son is also T1 so I can only hope he is as lucky as me with his management.

Posted by Anonymous on 23 February 2012

Part of the problem here is that no one is defining what they mean when they say they have "lows" or "severe lows." Having had to inject my type 1 son with Glucagon to keep him from slipping into a coma because he was testing at 25 or 30 and seeing how long it takes him to come back, I find comments inferring that people are just babying themselves to be surprisingly lacking in understanding that people react differently, physiologically, to their lows. It's bad enough when non-diabetics and those who don't even have diabetic family members are lacking in understanding, but it shocks me to see diabetics who think because they can function after treating what they call a low, everyone should be able to do the same. Sounds to me like someone in their lives told them to "suck it up", so they think this is the measure of someone's inner strength and not a reflection of a chemical imbalance.

Posted by Anonymous on 23 February 2012

I am a registered respiratory therapist in a bronchoscopy suite in a well known hospital in Georgia. I have chose to not tell anyone about my Type I diabetes for fear I would lose my job. I have never gone low at work and make sure I am up to my responsibilities every day. Unfortunately, I must keep this secret and constantly monitor myself. I will never tell anyone because the job market is so scarce.

Posted by Anonymous on 23 February 2012

As a type 1 diabetic for 35 years I've never missed a day of work or been late due to my disease. I've been treated by my husband for severe lows, recover, shower and go to work getting on with my. No pity parties needed. You learn to move forward. It's the best thing for you.

Posted by shosty on 24 February 2012

This kind of article will cause discrimination, not understanding, unfortunately. People need to know that they are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, at least in theory. Other workers may be late or miss work for reasons such as a headache, a sick kid, or even stress. Is there a study on reasons why people are late or absent from their jobs, and how type 1's compare?

Posted by Anonymous on 24 February 2012

I will say that 99% of the time, a hypoglycemic event is usually no big deal for me-I treat and move on with my day. However, there have been a handful of times-no more than 5 I would in my 14 years of being a Type 1 diabetic, that a low blood sugar just sapped my energy completely. I have never missed work and have maybe come in late once in all these years. However, I have a desk job where little physical energy is necessary (but mental is absolutely required). So, because I have had rare and unpredictable hypoglycemic events that cause much greater fatigue than I would normally ever anticipate, I do see that some people could have more difficulty with low blood sugars and/or the nature of the work would not permit them to perform safely.

Posted by Anonymous on 25 February 2012

The last thing you want to do if you have a low at work is leave work. Driving yourself home with a low is a very dangerous thing to do. Almost 50 yrs as T1 and still no complications. I am tired of having this 800 pound gorilla on my back 24/7/365, however. Let's find a cure!

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