Job stress and T1DM

I have had type 1 diabetes for over 20 years now. All that time, things have been under really good control. I did not struggle in high school, college or even my first professional job. I work in a pretty stressful environment now with high stakes and responsibilities. Lately I have noticed that my BGs are under much worse control. I believe that a large part of this is due to stress. For example, I went into a work meeting with a BG of 90 and 1.5hrs into the meeting I was over 300. I did not give insulin and came back down to normal in 2 hours.

My question is, have you ever changed jobs or careers because of your diabetes specifically due to stressors? Did you try any compromises before getting to that point?

I understand that my situation is a combination of many factors, but just wondering how drastic others have been in maintaining their health.
Hope that makes sense and thanks in advance!

Hi Emily,

I was such a coincidence to find your post because as it happens, I’m dealing with the very same issues myself right now! I’ve been diabetic almost 15 years, and I graduated from a 2-year program in x-ray technology this past August. I was hired into my very first healthcare job back in November, and right now I typically work around 3 12-hr shifts a week. The stress from all of this rapid change has definitely affected my BGs.

I’m finally starting to settle in to my new job and overall anxiety levels starting to decrease some, but I have recently come to notice a marked difference in the way my BG behaves and my insulin sensitivity between days when I work and days that I’m off work. I recently went to the doctor and the NP at endo suggested that I start considering setting 2 different basal patterns for days when I work and days when I’m off (I’m on a medtronic 670G and Guardian sensor CGM). I’m thinking I may even need to set 3 different basal patterns: 1 for off-days, 1 for slow work days with a lot of sitting down, and 1 for high-stress, bat-crap-crazy work days! Most of the time, I can look ahead at my work schedule and know what type of day I’m in for, so I can switch to the appropriate basal rate early.

I’ve also found that getting regular, heavy exercise several times a week seems to really help stabilize my BGs overall. Maybe this is in part due to the exercise keeping my metabolism at a more constant rate, but I think it’s also because it helps lower my overall anxiety levels. I have chronic anxiety anyways, and all SSRI drugs give me sleep disruptions, so I’ve found that the best management for my anxiety is to get that regular, heavy exercise several times a week.

Anyways, I’m still trying to figure it out myself, but if your problems with BGs have been going on for a long time, it might be worth talking to your endo to get some advice.

Good luck and have a lovely day!

  • Maddy

No Emily. I haven’t left a job due to stress but looking back, I sure shoulda

I’ll give this advice because it’s what I most need to hear now: you are responsible for doing a days work, in 1day…not taking it home, not taking it on, just stopping at the end of the day and what’s left goes on the pile.

A wise supervisor would open doors down the hall and literally kick us out at 4:30 if there was a complaint he’d say “you aren’t efficient if you are staying till 7”. While he was right, it took s long time to comprehend that there is no “finishing”. There is no end to the work, it keeps on coming no matter what you do - and if you are doing the work of 2 employees, it’s your own fault.

I am very caught up in a vicious work cycle now but this week I scheduled a “meeting” at the gym and I got myself there. Next week I will schedule it and another. The only way to do it is to do it. I am practicing saying “no” in the mirror as well and I’ll let you know how that goes if I ever get up the nerve.

Good luck.

Hi Emily @chatttowngal, Welcome to the TypeOneNation Forum!

My direct and simple answer to your question, I’ve never changed jobs, or asked to change jobs, because of my diabetes. And yes, I have worked under high pressure and under much stress and physical excretion. I’m now in my 7th decade living with diabetes and I worked continuously for over 50 years. My work has included, among other positions: owner / operator of a contracting firm where I fully participated in heavy labor for 10 to 12 hours every day [6 day weeks] and had the stress of meeting payroll, and also serving as chief operating officer and later President/CEO of a national corporation. During this 50+ year career, I very rarely took a “sick day” and during my many years in the corporate world I received awards for perfect attendance.

Has my diabetes been easy to manage? Absolutely not, but years ago I decided to make a science of diabetes management and was willing to experiment and volunteer my body for several research programs. I dare say now, that you are probably “enjoying” the benefits in your diabetes management of treatments and protocol in which I participated in development.

My bit of wisdom: stick with it, figure how to make diabetes management work for you; get through the “tough times”, your rough days, and you may find that you just glide through most of your life on auto-cruise.