Chapter

Diabetes mellitus and other endocrine disorders

Eugene R. Waclawski and Geoff Gill

in Fitness for Work

Fifth edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199643240
Published online April 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191755668 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199643240.003.0015

Series: Landmark Papers

Diabetes mellitus and other endocrine disorders

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  • Occupational Medicine
  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Endocrinology and Diabetes

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A few studies of employment and diabetes in the UK indicate some increase in sickness absence. Recent research on the impact of hypoglycaemia at work indicated that severe hypoglycaemia was uncommon. Serious morbidity including accidents or injuries associated with hypoglycaemia at work was very uncommon. Information is still needed on the impact of particular work activities on diabetic control, especially shift work and vocational driving. Because of the paucity of definitive information, the advice given to diabetic workers is often arbitrary and employment decisions are taken with little supporting evidence. Physicians should take care to inform employers and potential employers factually about diabetes and to dispel any prejudice that might exist. The introduction of self-testing and modern systems of treatment have enabled those with diabetes to cope more easily with irregular work patterns. Careers officers and teachers need to know more about diabetes, so that they can give school-leavers accurate advice and enable them to make sensible career plans. A sustained effort is required to educate employers and persuade them to take a more objective view of diabetic workers. It is essential that each individual case be assessed on its own merits with full consultation between all medical advisers. Diabetes per se should not limit employment prospects, for the majority with diabetes have few, if any, problems arising from the condition and make perfectly satisfactory employees in a wide variety of occupations. Other endocrine diseases are less common than diabetes, and have less potential impact on employment. Decisions on this should be made on an individual basis. Once the specific endocrine disorder is either cured, or is stable on treatment, there are not usually any work-related issues. If the condition has caused an impairment it will be considered a disability even if treatment cures or stabilizes the condition. Where a cure occurs surgically, this may be considered a past disability, time limited from the start of impairment to the curative surgery. This chapter focuses on hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid eye disease, and pituitary disease.

Chapter.  8210 words. 

Subjects: Occupational Medicine ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Occupational Therapy ; Endocrinology and Diabetes

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