People with type 2 diabetes should tell their employers about their condition for ‘optimal self-management’ during work hours, researchers have said.
A Danish study has found that those who inject their medication or take several days off sick are more likely to tell their employer about their type 2 diabetes compared to those who take oral treatment.
Dr Kasper Olese, of the Steno Diabetes Center in Copenhage, said: “People diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in Denmark are, with a handful of […] exceptions, under no legal obligation to disclosure the condition to their employer.
“In most jobs, however, disclosure of diabetes at the workplace is necessary for optimal self-management during work hours. Nondisclosure may lead to impaired self-management behaviors, such as adverse eating, inexpedient consumption of medication, delayed glucose monitoring or delayed management of hypoglycemia.”
The study involved data from 720 people who had all been living with type 2 diabetes for eight years. The participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about whether their employer and colleagues knew they had type 2 diabetes.
A total of 77 per cent of people admitted they had told their employer about their diabetes and 87 per cent said they had told a colleague.
Those who had taken at least 10 days off sick or used injectable therapies were most likely to disclose their diabetes to their employer.
The researchers noted: “These findings point to psychosocial work environment factors as important determinants of disclosure, which is consistent with previous studies.
“Despite the potential benefits of disclosing diabetes, an employee might fear, for whatever reason, that disclosure of diabetes may have unwanted consequences. Studies have shown that onset of diabetes is a predictor for future income loss.”
The researchers noted that ‘fear of stigma’ could be preventing people from telling the people they work with about their diabetes.
More research wil now be carried out to further explore the impact of divulging a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes at work.
The findings appear online in the journal Diabetic Medicine.

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