A Wife’s Concern for His Diabetic Husband

Question:  My Husband is Diagnosed With T2 Diabetes. He is a construction worker. Is he at risk for an accident on the job?

As you already know, people in construction work, work in an environment which is hazardous any number of accidents could happen. Caution while working is always of utmost importance. Construction workers are mandated by law to wear the proper protection gear, but even that does not protect them from all kinds of accidents. Scaffolds may fall, accidents can occur around heavy machinery and so on. Even though working around heavy machinery is essential to the job at hand, especially in large commercial and even residential projects, they are not necessarily safe for all workers. Accidents can happen if the machinery is used improperly and it can also happen if the workers are on medication or have illnesses that will impair their ability to work.

First and foremost your husband needs to consult with his diabetes specialist. Regardless of what job he holds, his blood sugar levels must be brought under control first for his general health and then for certainty that he will be able to continue working at his job. His doctor will put him on medication and may or may not suggest a sick leave until his blood glucose level returns to normal, and that will depend upon the degree of disease and the type of medication he must take and it will also depend upon what other complications he may have aside from the diabetes.

Diabetic Complications

If diabetes related diseases are severe enough he will no longer be able to work in his field. These diabetic complications could include:

Impaired sensory ability   in that case your husband will not hear strange noises, warning signals, or instructions by fellow co-workers and that may cause serious consequences. If his motor ability to move is impaired he may not be fast enough or dexterous enough to handle certain pieces of machinery. Good vision is very important in this field of work and that includes such simple things as sawing a plank of wood to hammering a nail. Certain diabetic eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma (high blood pressure in the eye) or cataracts will impair his vision; he could be seeing double, seeing spots, lose his peripheral vision (ability to see out the side of eyes) and more. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to heart trouble, kidney trouble and stroke. So of course he must now be aware of the complications and he must heed his doctor’s advice carefully in order to avert them.

Even with type 2 diabetes, uncontrolled diabetes can also lead to times when the blood sugar levels are too low and this can result in dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting. Traditionally, hypoglycemia has been the biggest concern for diabetics working around heavy or dangerous machinery. Low blood sugar levels can impair the body’s ability to think straight and make appropriate decisions. Low blood sugar in some instances can cause seizures. It can cause sleepiness as well. All these symptoms can put a person at risk who is working with any kind of machinery. Accidents happen all the time, but they are more frequent with individuals who have unattended medical conditions.

If your husband is deemed capable of working at his job he still must be careful to eat well, meaning eating diabetic foods, eat regular meals in the right portions and avoid skipping any meals. A good dietitian will help him with a proper diet.

He will also need to monitor his blood sugar level prior to working with any kind of machinery which could cause an accident, but it does not necessarily mean he will have to stop working in his field, he will; however, need to make some precautionary changes. Again, the best advice will come straight from his diabetes specialist who knows his medical history.

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