Veterans who develop type 2 diabetes mellitus and were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service do not have to prove a connection between their diabetes and service to be eligible to receive VA health care and disability compensation.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the body's ability to use blood sugar for energy. In type 2 diabetes mellitus, the body does not produce enough insulin or the body's cells ignore the insulin.
Signs of untreated diabetes type 2 are: blurry vision, excessive thirst, fatigue, hunger, frequent urination, and weight loss.
Risk factors for diabetes type 2 include: age over 45 years, family history and genetics, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, obesity, and gestational diabetes.
Visit Medline Plus to learn about diabetes treatment, the latest medical research and more from the National Institutes of Health.
Here's how: Work on losing extra pounds because being overweight is the single biggest risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Exercise 30 minutes a day and eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet. Learn more about healthy living.
Veterans who served in Vietnam, the Korean demilitarized zone or another area where Agent Orange was sprayed may be eligible for a free Agent Orange Registry health exam.
Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of Veterans who were exposed to herbicides during military service and died as the result of type 2 diabetes mellitus may be eligible for survivors' benefits.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences concluded in its 2000 report, Veterans and Agent Orange: Herbicide/Dioxin Exposure and Type 2 Diabetes, as well as in 2002 and 2004 updates, that there is limited/suggestive evidence of an association between exposure to herbicides and type 2 diabetes.
View more research on health effects of Agent Orange.