Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Hypoglycemia Forum

Hg Attack At Work

Hi there I have hypoglycemia and ive had a few attacks over the last couple of weeks mostly whilst at work. After the shaking has stopped and my sugar level has gone up I feel able to continue with my work. I work in a call centre by the way.

I had a bad expierence on friday where I had a hypo and felt ine after I wanted to continue with work but one of the managers that have absolutely nothing to do with me said I needed to go home because I am a risk at work, I asked how and aparently I could fall and bang my head. I got so angry with them as ive explained time and time again I usually know when a hypo is coming on. The thing is to cope with the shaking ive been laying down because thats my best way to deal with it.

Im not sure what to do with regards to this as they keep sending me home. Obviously I know the way I feel and I would never put myself at risk. I have a meeting with my line manager on monday to discuss a solution I just want to know some things to say that she would listen to.

Its making me really really angry I cant take it anymore.
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replied July 30th, 2006
Community Volunteer
First thing, are you eating the proper diet? Most of us on here, when we get our diets right, have no symptoms or rarely get anything that causes any major problems. Here's some things I would say.

1. You need to first explain how hypoglycemia works because people usually don't understand it. Explain that the brain can only run on one form of energy to function at full capacity and that's glucose. When normal people eat and their blood sugar goes high, the pancreas shoots out insulin to keep the glucose level in the blood normal. In hypoglycemics, however, the pancreas secretes too much insulin and does it continually throughout the day. The problem then is that the blood glucose level does two things. One, it drops too low and two, it drops too fast for the brain to have time to adjust to the level. Since it realizes it is running out of fuel, it begins to shut down areas of the body (typically sections of the brain itself) that are less necessary to basic functions. The heart and lungs, for example, need to always be running, so those are kept active. Other things, like the neocortex (responsible for mood, concentration, thinking, following social rules, etc.) are not necessary to keep alive so it shuts them down or diverts glucose from these areas. When this happens, the hypoglycemia can become extremely depressed, anxious, irritable, sleepy, get blurred vision, become confused (forgetting where they are perhaps) and a host of other symptoms in a matter of minutes. There is nothing to do and this can't be "shaken off" like i've heard some people say to me. The brain has no energy. If you were driving a car and ran out of gas you couldn't exactly tell it to "shake it off," you'd have to put more gas in it and that's all we can do. Unfortunately, unlike a car which can then run on gas as soon as you put it in there, if a hypoglycemia gets a bad drop in blood sugar it can take a few hours (at most) to restabalize. Tell them all of this.

2. All hypoglycemics eventually learn their own body triggers that are signalling something bad is coming. Sometimes they'll know it because they tend to get sleepy before it happens, or perhaps angry at the strangest things suddenly, or perhaps get a weird feeling in the stomach, anything. These signals mean the sugar is beginning to drop to below normal. Because of this, we also know when we need to eat, so it's easy to catch the drop before it gets too bad. Sometimes we may be a little below functioning capacity when this happens, but who isn't throughout the day? If we don't eat, however, it will get worse so that needs to be stated.

3. Because hypoglycemia is a disease (if you haven't been tested and have the paperwork to prove it I suggest you figure out a way to get something through your doctor), your employer needs to be able to accmodate you when you need it. This doesn't mean special privledges, but there is always something they can do to accomodate you when you may be having a terrible sugar day. Perhaps paper filing, fixing a schedule, anything other than what you are considering "liable" for. I used to work mental health when I first got hypoglycemia, and even when I was in really bad states of sugar shock I still managed to do the most taxing work, so it can be done. They can't just throw you aside because of a disease, that's not legal.

4. If you haven't gotten yourself on track with the right diet yet I suggest you do, and furthermore I suggest that you see if your employer has medical leave. Take full advantage of it and burn as much of it up as you can to take as much time off as possible while you get your diet on track. When you go back to work, ask your employer to let you ease back into the workload gradually, perhaps going from 40 hours a week to 20 and then slowly building back up so you're ready for it.
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replied July 30th, 2006
Thanks for your reply im going to try my best to help her understand I just need to take some info with me. Does anyone know of anywhere I can print some stuf off? Also when I have a hypo and get some sugar I normally feel fine about 10 - 15 mins after is this correct. Ive got to make her understand that too.

I have coeliacs too so I will have that to explain to her why I am so thin too.

Thanks again
kez x
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replied July 30th, 2006
Experienced User
Hey isnt there some kind of law to do with companies sending you home cause you have disease or whatever you wanna call it. Thats discriminting as hell to give someone a hard time for have hypoglycemia. Alot of companies like call centers are eoe. I just think its messed up that there sending you home for that. If anything they can make you sign a waiver stating if an accident happens while at work (ex. Bumping your head) they are not liable. Sorry to hear that abour ur job.
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replied July 30th, 2006
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This site has lots of stuff you can print out:

Fred.Net/slowup/hypotret.html

i'm going to make a wager what you think is celiac disease is just sugar. Were you actually tested for it or did they just say you had it? You should not be eating sugar to get yourself better! Keep doing this and you will eventually be really, really bad. You need to eat properly. Technically, if you had plain sugar you should feel better pretty quickly depending on how much and what type. But that amount of time sounds correct, yes.
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replied July 30th, 2006
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Here you go, perfect for your boss:

Fred.Net/slowup/hcauses.txt
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replied July 30th, 2006
Hey guys thanks for the replys the links dont work

the coeliacs has been diagnosed by endoscopy and the hypoglycemia has been diagnosed in the last couple of months.
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replied July 30th, 2006
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Okay, good. Cut and paste the link into the browser and it should work fine.
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replied July 31st, 2006
Experienced User
Littlekez, this sort of thing makes me so angry. I don't know what state you're in but that is clearly discrimination in ny. (my sister's a lawyer with hypo and celiac disease). Anyway, contact the department of labor and find out what laws apply in your state. Bring a copy of those laws to your meeting with your boss. In no way should you be discrimated against or prohibited from snacking if you're a hypoglycemic. It's just wrong. If you were a diabetic, would they treat you the same? Just curious.

Also, keep a journal at work for everytime your boss says something insensitive or sends you home because of your hypo/celiac. Documentation is key. If you have to actually fight to stay there, the courts will allow your documentation. It gives you a good gauge of how often it happens, too.

Lastly, I usually I eat almonds when I feel an attack coming on. Chew slowly. It helps.

Most importantly, I don't think you're eating properly. You should take a look at stan's diet. Since i've been following stan's diet, a "crash" is non-existant ... Unless I don't eat properly or on time.

Let us know how your meeting goes. Good luck!
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