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Veterans Affairs researchers study Type 2 diabetes to help more vets avoid it

Department of Veterans Affairs researchers are hard at work on one of the most widespread medical problems among Americans who have served their country: Type 2 diabetes.

“Type 2 diabetes is at epidemic proportions among the veteran population,” Tim O’Leary, MD, PhD, chief research and development officer, said in a news release. “It affects nearly 20% of veterans who use the VA healthcare system, compared to 8.3% of the general population. This means that diabetes — and with it, the risk of heart disease, stroke, blindness, renal disease and amputation — affects more than one million veterans at any given time.”

Millions of people don’t even realize they have the disease, since it can start out so subtly, according to the release.

“This is of tremendous concern for us at VA, and why we’re doing research that not only helps veterans avoid developing diabetes in the first place, but also helps them avoid developing those several other conditions,” O’Leary said in the release.

The VA has an extensive diabetes research portfolio and is adding to it all the time, according to O’Leary. “Many of our researchers are studying weight management, since being overweight or obese are significant risk factors for developing diabetes and are also epidemic among the veteran population,” O’Leary said in the release. “Approximately three-quarters of veterans are overweight, and nearly 40% are obese.”

O’Leary said the VA has participated in a number of large clinical trials, such as the Diabetes Prevention Program, where it was shown that losing weight and increasing exercise can reduce the progression from pre-diabetes to Type 2 diabetes.

“This effort,” he said, “has contributed to VA’s national weight management program, called MOVE, and also has been used beyond VA to improve the health of all Americans.”

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By | 2014-07-18T00:00:00-04:00 July 18th, 2014|Categories: National|0 Comments

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