People with diabetes face significant discrimination in the workplace, new Amcal figures have found
Amcal’s 2018 Diabetes Care Review has revealed that a third of people with diabetes have received some form of prejudice at work – from being judged for taking sick leave or being excluded from social gatherings, to being passed over for a promotion.
Many of those who participated in the study said this unfair treatment also extends to their social life with more than a quarter (28%) saying they regularly encounter judgment from family and friends.
A similar number (27%) admitted to struggling to be themselves and relax when socialising because of their condition.
The impact of this societal bias is far-reaching, and experts are concerned about the emotional toll, says Amcal.
Around a third – 32% – of those living with diabetes admitted that they often feel lonely and socially isolated, while close to half feel down or depressed – but most don’t seek support due to feelings of embarrassment or shame.
Amcal spokesperson and senior pharmacist James Nevile says health professionals need to understand how poor emotional wellbeing can interfere with physical diabetes management, and to recognise when someone may need support.
“Our research found that people with all forms of diabetes face very common wellbeing challenges – including feeling overwhelmed and anxious about managing their condition, or worried about the risk of developing complications,” he says.
“Living with diabetes is demanding enough without the added social judgement, so it’s not surprising that close to two-fifths struggle to manage their condition, and don’t speak out about it.
“It’s for these reasons that people with diabetes need a supportive team around them where they can openly discuss their condition, and as frontline health professionals, pharmacists have a key part to play in delivering holistic wellbeing support.”
The research also drew attention to several negative attitudes and misconceptions among the general public about diabetes, highlighting the need for greater awareness around the condition and its risk factors.
“More than a quarter of Australians surveyed consider diabetes to be a self-inflicted disease and a burden on the health system, and over half believe that fast food availability is to blame for the country’s diabetes epidemic,” Mr Nevile says.
“Furthermore, many Australians believe Type 2 diabetes is only caused by high sugar intake, while others think it’s curable and that you can only get diabetes if you have a family history – but that’s not the case.
“In order to debunk these myths, remove stigma and help people with diabetes better manage their condition, improved understanding and acceptance of diabetes within the community is essential.
“It is our hope that health care professionals, other support networks and society at large will unite, with a positive outlook, to improve health outcomes for people with diabetes.”