Nearly 1 in 4 veterans who receive care from the VA have diabetes. At almost 25% this represents a higher incidence of diabetes than in the general population.

Agent Orange has been linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Diabetes is now the top claim for Vietnam veterans in the San Diego VA HealthCare System·

VA researchers are studying innovative strategies and technologies - including group visits, telemedicine, peer counseling, and Internet-based education and case management - to enhance access to diabetes care and to improve outcomes for patients. In addition, VA researchers are working to develop better ways to prevent or treat diabetes, particularly in special populations such as the elderly, amputees, minorities, spinal cord injured patients, and those with kidney or heart disease.

Dr. Bob Henry and Dr. Sundar Mudaliar are looking into novel new research delving into the causes and complications of Type I and Type II Diabetes.

Examples of Research Advances

  • Screening is cost effective - Early detection of diabetes and pre-diabetes would not only improve Veterans’ health but also reduce health care costs.
  • P2P support - Peer-to-peer support may be more effective than nurse support in controlling blood sugar in diabetic men. In a VA study on peer support, based at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, African American Veterans with diabetes served as peer mentors to other minority Veterans and were effective at helping their fellow Veterans manage the condition.
  • Leptin link - Researchers with VA and the University of Washington in Seattle learned that the brain is able to normalize high levels of blood sugar when there is enough leptin in the central nervous system. Leptin is a hormone that plays a key role in appetite and metabolism and has been of great interest to obesity researchers.