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Diabetes: Avoiding & Managing Its Adverse Impact on Claimant Recovery

Posted by Eric Patten on January 16, 2017 at 3:05 PM

Today’s guest, Eric Patten, is the clinical director of One Call Care Management, where he and his team proactively help companies evaluate injured workers before they are discharged. He will share with us his 22 years of experience on diabetes, its types, causes, symptoms, and how it affects workers’ compensation claims. 


Types of diabetes

The most common types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2:

  • Type 1 diabetes

With type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, in turn, inhibiting insulin production. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day via injection, pump, or a combination of both to stay alive. 

  • Type 2 diabetes

This type of diabetes occurs most often among the middle-aged, obese workers, and the workforce population, in general. Type 2 diabetes arises when the insulin produced by the pancreas is not properly accommodated by the body or when the pancreas inefficiently produces insulin.

Symptoms of diabetes

In some cases, there may be no symptoms. A majority of the common symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Sweating

Types of complications that diabetes create for workers compensation claims

  • Deadening of the nerves.
  • Lack of sensation as a result of damaged nerves causing numbness in toes, feet, fingers, etc.
  • Late healing in cases of fracture.
  • The increase in downtime to recovery.

Effects of diabetes if not managed properly and how it affects workers compensation claims

The effects of diabetes, when mismanaged, can lead to damage of large and small blood vessels, resulting in heart attack, stroke, and problems with the kidneys, eyes, feet and nerves.

These ailments could prevent diabetics from standing for a long period of time, which might put them in harm’s way when using heavy equipment.

An employee’s inability to properly monitor their diabetes could lead to an increase in medical costs, potentially creating an adverse influence on workers’ compensation claims. 

Types of treatment and considerations to be made if an injured worker has diabetes

  • Determine their blood sugar levels.
  • Tighten the levels of blood sugar after determining their blood sugar levels prior to starting treatment.
  • Implement treatments such as diet, exercise, medication, and insulin therapy.

Role and effects of nutrition in diabetes related cases

Nutrition aids in reducing diabetic effects in the following ways:

  • By establishing a healthy eating and dietary pattern.
  • By delaying or preventing further diabetic complications.