Is Diabetes a Disability?

Authored by The Rx Advocates, / Medically Reviewed by Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS


For those with diabetes, it is no surprise that this illness can be debilitating. Many people with diabetes must adjust their expectations of what it means to live an everyday life.

Social activities become challenging to include in their schedule.

Maintaining a healthy immune system is an ongoing challenge. Keeping a job becomes much more challenging.

Learning about diabetes and how it is treated can lead to a deeper understanding. Knowing how to treat this illness makes managing it easier.

For some, the biggest question has to be: is diabetes a disability?

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus encompasses several variants of the disease. Each type has similarities in its cause and effect on the body. However, there are striking changes to be aware of when diagnosed with diabetes:

  • Type 1 Diabetes – Believed to be caused by the body’s self-destruction of the pancreas, this form is an autoimmune reaction. For the 5%-10% of those experiencing type 1, their body cannot produce insulin. This causes a quick onset of symptoms, typically among teens and younger. Patients with type 1 diabetes give themselves life-saving injections of insulin daily. There is no known prevention for this form of illness.
  • Type 2 Diabetes – Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90%-95% of all diagnoses. The majority of these patients are adults. An increasing number of children and young adults are also facing this illness. For those with type 2 diabetes, the body uses available insulin poorly. Blood sugar levels struggle to stay at an average level. This form of diabetes is preventable through a series of lifestyle changes. This includes losing weight, eating healthier, and increasing activity. In combination, these choices positively increase the chance of controlling type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational Diabetes – During pregnancy, some women have gestational diabetes. This condition raises the risk of health problems for the baby. It typically resolves once the baby is born.
  • Prediabetes – Not technically a type of diabetes, more than 96 million adults are on the edge of a type 2 diagnosis. Prediabetes is a correctable condition. Unfortunately, many people do not even realize they are experiencing prediabetes. Patients should ask their doctor if this is a concern for their health.

Symptoms and Treatments for Diabetes

If a patient suspects they are at risk for diabetes, speaking with a medical professional is essential. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the sooner the process of managing diabetes can begin.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of diabetes can be life-saving. Symptoms to watch for and discuss with a doctor include:

  • Increased thirst
  • More urination
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Ketones in the urine
  • Excess fatigue and weakness
  • Higher irritability and moodiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Sores that won’t (or take a long time to) heal
  • Excess infections

Different types of diabetes require different treatments, including:

  • Insulin Injection Shots – This is for those whose bodies can not produce insulin properly. It is a lifetime requirement, as there is no known cure.
  • Improvement in Healthier Living includes increased activity, better food choices, and weight loss. Also, getting quality rest and reducing stress can lead to better-managed diabetes.
  • Medications – When managing diabetes, there are medication options available. Talking with a primary doctor or endocrinologist helps patients decide on the best choice.

Medications to Treat Diabetes

There are many medication options available to treat people with diabetes. What works for one patient may differ from the right choice for another.

Consulting with a medical professional is always the best first step to take.

Here are some of the more than 150 prescription options available for people with diabetes:

  1. Insulin: People with type 1 diabetes must administer insulin into their bodies. Examples of this medicine are: Apidra and NovoLog
  2. Trulicity
  3. Ozempic
  4. Victoza
  5. Jardiance
  6. Bydureon BCise
  7. Metformin

What is a Disability?

The word disability can be defined in both a legal and medical context.

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed into law. This act gives a specific, legal definition of disability. While similar to how it is medically defined, there are some legal differences.

Anyone with impairments physically or mentally is considered disabled. A person limited in more than one major life area is considered disabled. This is true for long standing impairments as well as sudden or recent disabilities.

Medically speaking, being disabled is when a physical or mental condition limits activities. This includes an unrestricted ability to interact with people and places around them.

There are countless ways that disabilities can present. Any condition affecting any of the following areas can potentially be considered disabling:

  • Sight
  • Range of motion
  • Thought process
  • Memory
  • Communication
  • Auditory
  • Mental health
  • Socio-relational abilities

Is Diabetes a Disability?

Under both the legal and medical definitions, diabetes can be considered a disability. It is a condition that interferes with the quality of basic aspects of life.

Statistically, more than 16% of Americans with disabilities have been diagnosed with diabetes.

People with diabetes find that this condition can affect every area of daily living.

  • Compromised immune system: Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. This means patients can be more susceptible to other illnesses. The more sicknesses someone has to overcome, the harder it is to function normally.
  • Lifestyle changes: People diagnosed with diabetes must change their life and habits. This can be overwhelming and, for some, disabling.
  • Fluctuating mental status: Diabetes has a far-reaching effect. Dealing with this condition can create mental health challenges. Depression and anxiety are often hurdles that need to be addressed. Unresolved mental complications can lead to diabetes becoming a disability.

Let The Rx Advocates Help – Contact Us Today!

Diabetes medication can be costly. Many people find the cost too excessive and struggle to find a way to have their medicine as needed.

Are you among millions of Americans struggling to pay for your diabetes medication? The Rx Advocates can help.

We are a prescription advocacy company working directly with patient assistance programs. Our goal is to help you get the medicine you need at little to no cost.

Most people don’t realize that this form of assistance exists. Most of the companies that make brand-name medications have dedicated patient assistance available.

That’s where The Rx Advocates comes in. We are here to get you the help you need without dealing with the confusion of the application process.

Contact us today, and let’s get you the medicine you need without the cost or the hassle.

  1. Mayo Clinic. Diabetes: Symptoms and Causes. October 25, 2022. Available at:
  2. CDC. What is Diabetes? July 7, 2022. Available at:
  3. Medical News Today. Diabetes Symptoms. November 29, 2021. Available at:
  4. Apidra. May 2, 2022. Available at:
  5. Metformin. May 24, 2022. Available at:
  6. Americans with Disabilities Act. What is the definition of disability? November 2022. Available at:
  7. CDC. Disability and Health Overview. September 16, 2020. Available at:
  8. American Diabetes Association. Proving Diabetes is a Disease. 2022. Available at:
  9. CDC. Prediabetes – Your Chance to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes. December 21, 2021. Available at:
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