How Military Service Can Lead to Diabetes: Understanding the Connection

How Military Service Can Lead to Diabetes: Understanding the Connection

Posted On: Jun 14, 2024

Table of Content

  • Introduction
  • Risk Factors for Diabetes in Military Personnel
  • Can Military Service Cause Diabetes?
  • Agent Orange and Diabetes
  • Management of Diabetes After Military Service
  • FAQs
  • Conclusion


Several things raise the risk of getting diabetes from military service. These include stress, injuries, and exposure to certain chemicals. In this blog, we will investigate the link between diabetes and military service. It focuses on the risk factors, possible causes, and management strategies. These strategies cater to veterans' needs.


Diabetes is a chronic disease. It affects the lives of millions worldwide. Lifestyle choices shape the probability of developing diabetes. Genetics also plays a part in getting diabetes. Military service may contribute to the development of this condition. Strong mental and physical demands characterize it.

Risk Factors for Diabetes in Military Personnel

  1. Stress and Trauma: Combat and war's psychological effects may cause stress and trauma in the military. Chronic stress may raise cortisol levels. It can lower blood sugar control. It also reduces insulin sensitivity, increasing the risk of diabetes.
  2. Exposure to Chemicals and Toxins: Military personnel may encounter Agent Orange, burn pits, and other chemicals. Exposures raise the risk of metabolic diseases, including diabetes. For instance, the VA connects Agent Orange exposure to type 2 diabetes.
  3. Physical Injuries and Limited Mobility: Military traumas include musculoskeletal injuries and amputations, which may reduce mobility and activities. Less activity causes weight gain. It also reduces insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. These effects make it a risk factor for diabetes.
  4. Dietary Changes and Poor Nutrition: Military personnel, especially those on deployment, eat high-calorie, high-fat, low-fiber meals. This diet increases insulin resistance and diabetes risk. It does this by causing weight gain and metabolic issues. Lack of fresh, healthy meals might also worsen these conditions.
  5. Sleep Disturbances and Irregular Schedules: Military service generally requires night shifts and erratic sleep cycles. Bad sleep quality and quantity hurt glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. It raises diabetes risk. Deprivation of sleep may increase hunger and weight, and it increases diabetes risk.

Can Military Service Cause Diabetes?

Diabetes does not originate from military service alone. However, the discussed elements still have the potential. They increase a person's sensitivity to a higher level. Veterans can prevent diabetes. They just need to understand the risk factors.

Agent Orange and Diabetes

Researchers have linked Agent Orange to many health issues. It is one of the herbicides used in the Vietnam War. These include type 2 diabetes. Many theories exist on how Agent Orange works. One idea is that it increases insulin resistance. Or, it interferes with insulin production. Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange should check their blood sugar. They are at increased risk of getting diabetes.

Management of Diabetes After Military Service

Many services are out there to help veterans with diabetes. They help them manage their condition. The VA offers comprehensive healthcare services. They include programs for diabetes treatment. These organizations help veterans manage their blood sugar levels. They also help them lead healthy lives. They provide information, support groups, and medication access.


What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Extreme thirst, frequent urination, and unexplained weight loss are signs of diabetes. Also, extreme exhaustion and impaired eyesight are signs.

How can I prevent diabetes?

To avoid getting diabetes, you must keep a healthy weight. You must eat a balanced diet and exercise often. You must also manage stress well.

What resources are available for veterans with diabetes?

The VA offers healthcare, education, and support groups. These are just a few of the options for veterans with diabetes.


The military is a sacred vocation, yet serving one's country may be dangerous to one's health. Veterans know that military service can cause diabetes. This knowledge helps them manage their disease and prevent problems. Veterans may stay healthy and live long, satisfying lives. They can do this by making healthy behaviors a priority and getting help from the VA when they need it.