Diabetes and VA disability
Updated: Sep 25
Our society has made a contract with those who serve in the U.S. military – to provide them with a high standard of medical care during the course of their lives. But too often, the details of this contract get lost in the shuffle, and it's difficult for those who need to file claims to actually get the assistance they deserve.
We help U.S. military veterans with records review and Independent Medical Opinions to support their cases in pursuit of VA disability.
The Threat of Diabetes
There are several different types of diabetic conditions but the most commonly seen variations in veteran populations are Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Type 1 Diabetes is often referred to as Juvenile-onset diabetes as it is often diagnosed in childhood. This is not always the case however, and some service members may be diagnosed in young adulthood with this condition while serving on active duty. Many aging veterans and civilians are at risk for Type 2 or adult-onset diabetes. This has to do with the body's metabolism and how it processes nutrition. Diabetes is typically diagnosed through looking at blood sugar cycles. This kind of medical review is important for those who may have developed diabetes that can be hard to diagnose through symptoms alone.
Methods of VA Disability Service Connection for Diabetes
Primary or Direct service connection
As previously mentioned, many veterans may develop and become diagnosed with both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus while serving on active duty. If this condition develops while on active duty or within one year of separation from active duty, they may also be entitled to service connection for their disability.
Secondary Service Connection
Many veterans may develop diabetes in relation to another medical condition that they are currently service connected for. If a veteran is taking a medication for a service-connected disability that causes or worsens the disability, a secondary service connection may be established. Some such medications include certain anti-psychotics taken for mental health conditions, chronic long term steroid use, and beta-blockers among others.
Often if another service-connected injury or illness has caused the veteran to gain substantial weight due to compensatory habits or inability to perform meaningful exercise this can also lead to diabetes by way of obesity as an intermediate step.
Diabetes and Agent Orange Exposure
Agent orange exposure is another means for veterans to be service connected for this troublesome disorder. Generally, veterans exposed to agent orange during military service in Vietnam and other areas do not need to prove a connection as the VA has conceded a presumed connection for these veterans.
Diabetes and Secondary Conditions
Although diabetes is a chronic disease in and of itself, it has correlations to other kinds of health problems. For instance, in some cases there may be neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy and kidney damage. Many diabetic patients go on dialysis to prevent worsening kidney health.
Those suffering from diabetes should also control their diets to help protect themselves from the worst ravages of this disease. Diabetes has a tendency to take over as we age, and that’s something that doctors have to be aware of when looking at patients with this chronic condition.
Independent Medical Opinions
Many military veterans can prove their connection to service especially in cases of Primary service connection and Agent Orange exposure. In cases of secondary service connection, a personal statement can go a long way, but sometimes an independent medical opinion may help. These technical reports are often called ‘Nexus letters’ in the world of VA documentation. Many veterans consider these reports to assist them when navigating the claims system on their own or with the assistance of an accredited claims agent, VSO, or accredited VA attorney.
If you are looking for an Independent Medical Opinion to use as part of your VA disability application, contact Prestige Worldwide Medical Consulting today!