Shift Work

Kirsty81

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I was just wondering if anyone else who does shift work and who is Type 1 has any helpful suggestions about controlling it.

I have had diabetes since I was 11, so 16 years now and been working shifts for 4 years and still can't seem to get it quite right and all the DR can advise me is that i shouldn't do shift work, but should do a nice 9-5 job. I love my job and am not going to let diabetes get in the way.


I have just discovered this site and Its great to have other people to talk to about issues only diabetics can understand.
 

kojack

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Problem with shift work is the continuous change in eating and sleeping habits. Control of carb intake must be hard.
Your Doc has probably thought this out before offering you the advice he did.
 

sofaraway

Senior Member
I work shifts on internal rotation, so earlies, lates and nights, i'm on nights at the moment (really should get off the internet and try get some sleep!)

The biggest problem I found was having hypo's on night shifts, some of the worst that I've had. I have managed to work around that by eating some uncovered carbs during the shift and testing regulary to catch any downward trend.

Are you on a basal bolus regieme? If so then you should be able to adjust your insulin around the different timings of eating.

I don't think you should have to give up your job, it may just take some work to get your blood sugars to behave
 

margaret

New Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I do shift work and have done for the last 10 years. It gradually got easier when novomix and lantus came onto the market. Does your diabetes team have access to a continous glucose monitor that they can lend you. You wear it for a few days and it tracks you blood sugars every 5 mins. it helpful to get a really detailed picture of what's going on when you are doing a number of different shifts. I found out the my night time blood sugars always ran lower the night following a late shift.
 

Lula

Active Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I'm so glad to have found a thread about shift work! Was just about to start one myself.

I am newly diagnosed type1 (four months in). My job is 9 to 5 at the moment, but I will have the chance to do shift work in a month's time. I really want to do so, but the occupational health team at my work have put a 'shift work restriction' on me, saying that I can't do it. The restriction is subject to review, and I have seen my doctor and diabetes nurse who both say that it is absurd and of course I can work shifts, like many other type 1s.

The most annoying thing is that I have loads of experience of shift work as I used to work in a hospital and did shifts all hours - but now I am type1, I feel that I'm being babied and effectively told that I don't know how to look after myself! Very frustrating.

Anyway I am waiting for a letter of support from my doctor so I can go do battle with the occupational health department. I appreciate that occ.health are only trying to do their job, but as they are obviously not diabetes specialists, I dont think they understand how much flexibility people can have these days.

I'm sorry to have hijacked your thread, Kirsty81 - at this point I'm afraid I don't have any useful advice about how to juggle shift work with type1, but I hope that I will have some for you in the future! The only thing I can thing of at the moment is religious BG testing - Good luck!
 

Kirsty81

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Thanks everyone, at least i know i am not the only one doing it! I was starting to get that impression.

My occupational health department at work arent particularly helpful when it comes to advice when I see them although my diabetic nurse at the GP is much more supportive than the DR at the Diabetes centre.

I do test a lot throughout the various shifts and before and after amd i find if i can juggle the food around work and sleep i can cope, its just sometimes i go low and am trying to stop it happening as often.

I will ask about the continous glucose monitor as it sounds like a good thing to show my DR what my control is like.

Good luck Lula with your new job
 

sugarsugar

New Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
shift work really messed me up. Eventually I packed it in because health is more important than a job. Found another job I love just as much but with sane hours. As a result hba1c is lower and feel much better. Hope it works out for you - I would have kept it up but in the end jus couldn't stabalize with such random eating times.
 

scotstigress

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
i doi shift work too, been diagnosed around 4 months now, after 3 weeks off work i went back with a strong ditermination not to be treated any differently, i really struggled the first time i did nights and still wake up around 2pm with falling blood sugars i just make sure i have something beside the bed to munch on then straight back to sleep, i do have hypo's on the nightshift but find the worst ones are on my days off between going from nights to backs or backs to days, however most of my problems come from not eating enough when i have the chance. i think it may be easier for me because i am on a novopen mix so only inject twice a day so as long as i leave around 12hrs between them im kinda managing, but it must be difficult if you are injecting with every meal. i guess time will tell if shiftwork will take its toal. Will deal with that bridge when i come to it...:D
 

Chr1st0pher

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Hi

I am a new member to the site and thought I'd jump in on this thread. I am 60 yrs old and was diagnosed type 2 about 5 years ago. I have been working permanent nights now for 10 years. I take 4 glucophge slow release tablets each morning.

With nights, the hardest part I find, is actually getting out of bed when your whole being really wants to stay in bed! I sleep afternoon and evenings and wake at 9pm ready for work at 10pm then I finish around 06:30 am and head for bed again at around 1pm.

Weekends are difficult at times, as I have to switch my body clock round in order to be with my family. Over the past 5 years, my blood sugar has increased slightly but my nurse said that type 2 is progressive anyway.

I have found that my sugars can rocket during my, "weekends", probably due to changing my body clock plus going from my very active job, to being a couch potato for 2 nights. I eat a fairly normal diet, but I am partial to white bread. I avoid sugary foods, cakes and sweets of course but other than that nothing out of the ordinary.

I hope this long winded autobiography offers some reassurance regarding shift work. Finally, I must point out that diabetic or not, while shift work doesn't overly bother some people, others simply cannot take it at all but in any case I advise giving it time to see how it affects you,rather than how you feel about it
 
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