What Aspects of the Patients Life May Be Affected by Pituitary Disease

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Driving

• Patients may have experienced frightening changes in their visual fields and even have lost their driving privileges and once recovered will need retesting to regain a license.

• The effects of their drugs may affect their driving, and they should ask the pharmacist for advice.

"My confidence is not as it was and so at times I am reluctant to drive. When the tinnitus and dizziness is particularly bad I do not drive."

Insurance and Mortgages

• Ignorance of the implications of pituitary disease may complicate applications for insurance and mortgages. A specialist broker can help.

• Life insurance rates might be higher. Some insurers confuse diabetes insipidus with diabetes mellitus. "ADH deficiency" may be a better description.

• An annuity might give a better rate!

• Travel insurance is likely to involve an interrogation but shouldn't be a problem. Patients should check the documentation as spelling can be incorrect.

"A lot of the companies had not heard of hypopituitarism which caused a problem. I addressed this by contacting the DVLA [British driving license authority] and getting a letter from them saying that my licence is unaffected by my illness."

Employment

• Effects vary with employer and the individual's response to treatment.

• Prediagnosis behavior (e.g., lack of get up and go) can have, and continue to have, a detrimental effect on relationships at work. In some cases a letter from a specialist for a personnel file may help.

"I had been feeling tired but so did most of my friends. We had demanding jobs involving stress, long hours, and travelling. I'd lost my characteristic willingness to take on anything thrown at me by my boss—as he had recently pointed out to me."

• Patients will need time off for regular clinic visits, tests, and treatment, depending on their individual condition. They may need help explaining the situation to employers and colleagues.

• The patient may lose a job as a result of continued tiredness or the time required for long treatments like radiotherapy.

Benefits Agency

UK Social Services provide invalidity benefits under certain circumstances.

• The Benefits Agency interview involves convincing a doctor, who may never have come across your condition before, that you are unfit to work.

• In many cases appearances will be deceptive and you will look fine. Pituitary disease is an "invisible illness."

• It is really difficult trying to quantify the impact of chronic fatigue on one's ability to work. (Who is not tired these days?)

• This is a prime example of where knowledgeable patients can really help themselves.

Other

• Travelling with injections can cause problems in some parts of the world.

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