Living with diabetes Day to Day Life

Taking good care of your feet, managing stress, and knowing what to do when you are ill are all important aspects of your day-to-day life with diabetes. If you are a woman, pregnancy and menopause will also affect your diabetes. If you live with, or are close to, someone who has Type 2 diabetes, you will find information on the condition and support helpful in day-to-day life.

How will having diabetes affect my work?

Hopefully, very little, with some advance planning. You may find it helpful to develop a plan for testing, eating, or adjusting your medication to fit your working day. If your job is unpredictable or involves a lot of physical activity, you may need to check your blood glucose several times during the day. If your job is sedentary, your blood glucose level may rise. If appropriate, you may find it helpful to keep supplies of medication and hypoglycemia remedies at work.

Are there any jobs that I won’t be able to do?

Yes, there are a few jobs that are not open to you. They include entering the army, navy, or air force, and flying commercial aircraft. If you take insulin, you may not be able to hold a commercial vehicles license. Otherwise, if you take insulin or insulin-stimulating pills (meaning that you are risk of hypoglycemic attacks) and you are responsible for the safety of others, you must tell your employer that you have diabetes.

Can I still drive?

If your treatment consists of healthy eating and physical activity, you do not need to inform your state department motor vehicles (DMV) about your diabetes. If you take tablets or insulin, you have to notify the DMV and your insurance company. If you take insulin, your license will be restricted to 1, 2, or 3 years, and you may not be able to hold a commercial vehicle license. If you already have either of these types of license, and you start insulin treatment, your license may be revoked.

I sometimes have a hypoglycemic attack. How should I deal with a long drive?

Testing your blood glucose before you drive and about every 2 hours during the trip will tell you if your blood glucose is within the recommended range. Keep food, drinks, and hypoglycemic remedies in the car to have supplies readily available.

I travel abroad a lot. How will this affect my diabetes?

Long distance and air travel, changes in time zones, temperature, and different food, drinks, or activities when you are abroad will all affect your blood glucose level, even if you do not take any medication of your diabetes. You can help prevent problems by making sure that your travel insurance covers any diabetes-related problems, and packing enough supplies of your equipment and medication because they may not be available in other countries. If you are flying, ask your health professional for a letter explaining to the airline that you need to keep your diabetes equipment in your hand luggage. Detailed planning ahead will help you manage your diabetes safely during your trips.

Can I still go out on the town now that I have diabetes?

Having diabetes will not stop you from doing anything you enjoyed before. If you drink a lot of alcohol on nights out with friends and you take insulin or insulin-stimulating pills, you will need to protect yourself from hypoglycemic attacks.

Which organizations can I contact for advice about diabetes?

National organizations such as the American Diabetes Association (ADA) have a telephone hotline and a website, and they publish a range of leaflets and magazines with up-to-date information about all aspects of diabetes.

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