Working together Helping employers integrate employees with diabetes

The Big Diabetes Lie

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If you have T1DM, you can help your employer meet the standards for helping you and others like you to be as productive as everyone else. I recommend that you bring the information in this section to the attention of your employer.

There's an enormous amount that a company can do to integrate its employees with diabetes. After all, they're some of the most skillful employees and their loss would be felt in the company's bottom line.

The government has set up a Web site to help employers hire and accommodate people with diabetes successfully. At www.diabetesatwork.org/ diabetesatwork, you can find many case studies of companies that have successfully integrated people with diabetes into their staff. Some of the other valuable information you'll find on the site includes:

1 Guidance on making a case for and developing a diabetes prevention and management program.

1 Recommendations for healthier eating in the workplace.

1 Suggestions for controlling obesity in the workplace.

1 A way to estimate the number of people with diabetes in your company. This information gives the employer an idea of the magnitude of the problem, and he'll be much more accommodating when he realizes how common it is.

1 A formula for determining the cost of health care for the people with diabetes in your company. (At the time of the writing of this book, this formula was being revised to reflect the fact that diabetes is generally better controlled than in the past, thus avoiding the higher costs for complications of diabetes.) This information helps your employer to plan appropriate health insurance for his employees.

The case studies show how a company can save a lot of money on medical expenses while greatly increasing the health and morale of employees with diabetes. For example, the clothing and outdoor equipment retailer Lands' End, which has more than 7,000 employees, adopted a Diabetes Prevention and Management Program that included:

1 Support groups and talks on general health as well as diabetes-specific topics

1 A disease management module

1 Regular A1c testing (see Chapter 7) and screening for diabetes

As a result, the company was able to slow the increase in medical costs to 3 percent compared to a national average of 12 percent in 2002. The next year, Lands' End's medical costs increased only 2 percent compared to a national average of 13 percent. The company's diabetes program continues to have great success.

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Supplements For Diabetics

All you need is a proper diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and get plenty of exercise and you'll be fine. Ever heard those words from your doctor? If that's all heshe recommends then you're missing out an important ingredient for health that he's not telling you. Fact is that you can adhere to the strictest diet, watch everything you eat and get the exercise of amarathon runner and still come down with diabetic complications. Diet, exercise and standard drug treatments simply aren't enough to help keep your diabetes under control.

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