Type 2 and Vietnam Vets: Any tips on next steps?

I took a message from my stepfather's doctor. His office staff called to request he return for a urine test and additional blood tests. When I asked why, I was told his blood sugar was high, 145 mg/dl, after a fast (though he did suck down two cigarettes). This isn't the first time he's had an out-of-range blood glucose test. He was found to have a 150 bg last year but he chalked it up to a breakfast of coffee and cigarettes. So, I strongly suspect he will be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the next 2 weeks (great Christmas present for him, huh?).

He is a Vietnam vet, service in-country from 1966-1967 with a unit that saw heavy combat. I read on the VA website that the VA presumes that anyone who served in Vietnam during those years and who develops type 2 dm is presumed to have developed it due to Agent Orange and can be treated through the VA. Since the chances are good he will be diagnosed with type 2, what does he need to do next? He already receives disability for other service-related conditions; will that complicate matters? Will he need to go through the VA only to treat his diabetes if he claims it as a disability or can he continue to use his current family doctor?

Thanks in advance for any and all information!


Thanks, John. When did you serve and were you in country? According to the VA's website, type 2 diabetes is a "presumed condition" because the VA is assuming that anyone who served in Vietnam between 1962-1975 was exposed to Agent Orange unless it can be proven otherwise. We know he was in a high combat area -- he was with the 1st Cav and did recon -- so there is a chance he was exposed. The benefits fact sheets for presumptive conditions also lists type 2 diabetes for people who served in Vietnam. He's already considered disabled, and his biggest question right now is, "how much will this increase my disability benefits?"

The biggest thing will be getting him to actually take his medications, if he needs them (personally, I don't think metformin is all that bad and if it had done anything for me, I would have continued to take it). Well, that and also getting him to stop eating potato chips, ice cream, pretzels, and other foods with abandon, as if there's no end in sight. And getting him to test his blood on occassion

I was told years ago by a Vietnam vet that anyone in that war who developed Diabetes would be treated free by the vet hospitals....in other words what you said Angela. I had oonce read it on the net years ago but couldn't remember where. Thanks for letting me know where it is so when someone needs the info I can refer them to the site. I know you've heard the phrase "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink". Which means you can only help but so much the decision has to be his to adhere to the routine that's best for him to manage his Diabetes.