Many people with diabetes miss up to 15 working hours per month: Survey

Almost one-quarter late to work, absent or leave early
||Last Updated: 06/07/2011

Nearly one in five people with diabetes are regularly unable to attend a full day at work due to disruption caused by episodes of dangerously low blood sugar, known as a hypoglycaemic event. That’s according to a survey of 1,404 people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who had reported a hypoglycaemic event in the preceding month, in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France.

The average loss of workplace productivity, per person, per month, due to a nighttime or nocturnal poglycaemic event was 14.7 hours for those missing work. That equated to an estimated dollar value of US$2,294 in lost productivity per person, per year, found the study sponsored by Novo Nordisk, a global health-care company.

Hypoglycaemic events are prone to happen during the night and one in five persons (22.7 per cent) arrived late for work or missed a full day of work as a result of a nocturnal episode. Events occurring during work hours resulted in 18.3 per cent of people either having to leave work early or miss a full day.

"Many people with diabetes struggle with hypoglycaemia on a regular basis," said lead researcher and health psychologist Meryl Brod. "This not only has an impact on their working lives but increases the need to self-monitor blood glucose levels. Additionally, the events occurring during sleep are a challenge for people with diabetes."

Patients also conducted 5.6 extra blood glucose tests to measure their blood sugar in the next seven days after the event and 24.9 per cent contacted a health-care professional (either primary care physician, hospital, diabetes clinic or other health-care worker) as a result of the event. Among patients using insulin, 25 per cent reported decreasing their insulin dose following the event, found the survey.

Maintaining strict glycaemic control has long-term advantages for people with diabetes in reducing complications, according to Novo Nordisk. Symptoms of a hypoglycaemic event, when the blood sugar becomes too low, often include pounding heart, trembling, hunger, sweating, difficulty concentrating or confusion. People with diabetes, treated with insulin, can experience up to three events per month.

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