Diabetes is a very common disease among adults in America, and its prevalence among veterans is particularly high – as stated in a study by Y Liu. The condition affects nearly 25% of US veteran patients; currently, around 1.5 million veterans are currently being treated by the VA for Type 2 diabetes. If you have Type 2 diabetes, the good news is that the VA is now offering free access to a specialist clinic providing strategies to help you manage your condition. Veterans will be offered up to a year of free treatment with the Virta online treatment program, whose normal cost is in the region of $350 monthly.
According to studies by A Menke and research by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the high prevalence of diabetes among veterans is primarily caused by the high prevalence of obesity in this population. In essence, people with obesity are more prone to the major contributors to Type 2 diabetes, one of which is insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented and treated, but early intervention is key. This is specifically true in the case of female veterans, who may have developed gestational diabetes: this is a risk factor for the subsequent development of Type 2 diabetes after a child is born. Factors such as these combined with obesity can significantly raise the chances of having this disease, which is why a positive change in diet and exercise habits are key.
Virta takes a unique approach to weight loss for veterans by creating a personalized programme for each individual. The system provides users with an on-demand nutritionist and accountability partner, so that vets can feel supported throughout what is essentially a long-term weight loss journey. Vets are also given specific supplies to keep track of progress, including a bodyweight scale that uploads data to an app, a blood pressure device if necessary, a meter with glucose and ketone strips, and other materials. The app allows the nutritionist, as well as the patient themselves, to elicit vital information, including ketones, weight and glucose levels. The program also has a gaming element to it, aimed at teaching users to learn more about key dietary changes required.
In 2017, a study by researchers at Newcastle University showed that people with Type 2 diabetes can indeed reverse this condition by consuming a low-calorie diet. Researcher Professor Roy Taylor stated that consuming a high-calorie diet is the cause of fatty build-up in the liver, and subsequent poor response from the liver to insulin. A high-calorie diet also results in excess fat being passed on by the liver to the pancreas and to the failure of insulin-producing cells. By losing less than one gram of fat, people with Type 2 diabetes can stimulate the production of insulin, thus reversing Type 2 diabetes. The researchers warned, however, that this reversal was only possible within 10 years of the onset of the condition.
Research has shown that Americans have a higher chance of having Type 2 diabetes. The main causative factor is excess weight, which is why efforts are often centered around weight loss. Veterans should also avail of the Virta Online Treatment, which takes a personalized approach and offers veterans the support they need during every step of their journey towards diabetes reversal.
By Lucy Wyndham
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