Chronic health condition might need addressing at work

What percentage of Americans would you guess have a chronic health condition? I was surprised recently to learn that it’s 50 percent. And another 25 percent have two such conditions. Of course, the older we get, the more likely it is that we will suffer from one or more chronic health condition.

If you are retired or work from home, it might not be all that challenging to deal with your condition, depending of course on what it is and how it affects you. But for those who are required to show up in an office every day and perhaps travel on a regular basis for their jobs, having a chronic health condition can cause all sorts of problems.

These chronic conditions can be painful, both to you physically and to your bank account. You don’t want it to affect your job, of course, because that could cause even more financial discomfort and might result in losing your health insurance. So, how does an employed individual deal with a chronic health condition?

First, you should research your condition as much as possible and talk to your doctor about your current and anticipated symptoms resulting from it. If you think you can handle your condition without it jeopardizing your job, there’s no sense in making it public in the workplace.

But if you believe your condition is affecting your work or is soon to do so, conduct some research regarding your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A consultant with the Job Accommodation Network, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, says that most chronic conditions are well protected by the ADA.

Assuming you’re having or think you’re about to have some issues at work due to your condition, open up a dialogue about it with your immediate supervisor. There’s a better chance that you’ll be able to work out some special accommodations for yourself if you begin the conversation rather than if they see your work slipping before they are aware of the problem.

Millions of people with chronic health conditions are working to provide income for themselves and their families. By making some arrangements that help them do their job better in this challenging situation, they can usually keep working as long as they want to.

Do you have a chronic health condition that has affected your job? If so, what did you do about it and how did that work out? Our readers would love to hear about it.


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