Why Should Diabetes Be A Problem In The Military
Looking at the reality of the situation will help to show why diabetes presents a problem for military members. Imagine you have been sent overseas to somewhere in the Middle East. Its hot, you only get MREs for meals and you may have to go long periods without eating.
MREs consist mainly of carbohydrates and the heat makes it very difficult to keep your insulin from being exposed to extremely high temperatures. With your unit constantly moving, you getting very little sleep and the high stress situations, this type of work could become very dangerous to your health.
If youre in this type of situation and you live with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you will likely be on insulin. Its possible you could leave your insulin behind if your unit moves out fast and it wont take must to see your blood sugar reach dangerous levels very fast.
In the middle of combat, you could have an issue related directly to your diabetes and it could cause your unit to either leave you behind or scramble for supplies. If they have to stop and take care of you, it could put the entire unit at risk.
Workplace Discrimination For People Living With Diabetes
Discrimination can come in many forms. It is possible that an employer may refuse to hire you after an employment medical, limit your job responsibilities or promotions, or fire you. Sometimes an employer might simply not bother to find out what diabetes really involves and take the easy option of employing someone they dont see as a risk.
Here are some examples of discrimination in the workplace:
- You inquire about applying to be an officer with the city police department and are told they do not hire people with diabetes.
- After experiencing a hypoglycemic reaction at your workplace, you are terminated from your job.
- Despite requesting a regularly scheduled morning coffee break to test your blood glucose and eat a snack, your employer makes you work through until lunchtime.
- After the employment medical, your job offer is rescinded because you have type 1 diabetes.
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Conditions For Deployment For People With Diabetes
Several studies explore that technological advancements have opened ways for diabetic soldiers to retain their positions in the military after treatment of diabetes.
The following qualities helped diabetic soldiers to retain their position
- Hypoglycemia awareness
- Knowledge of sick day rules
- Ability to follow parameters of profile
Besides, the following factors should not be present.
- Macular edema
- Occurrence of diabetic ketoacidosis in past 6 months
- Other comorbidities include congestive heart failure and chronic kidney disease
Overall, it is possible to join the military with diabetes under certain conditions like under control diabetes. Yet, if you have a severe condition, you cannot qualify for being enlisted at all. Besides, there are more chances for soldiers already on active duty to retain their positions even when diagnosed with diabetes. However, current Us regulations for diabetics in the military are more flexible compared with the past due to advancements in technology.
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Enlistment After Diagnoses Of Diabetes
As per the 2017 regulations of the US military, you may not be able to join the military if you have diabetes. The official army regulations “standards for Medical fitness” explore that individuals with diabetes history do not meet the standards for enlistment in the military. Especially Army has straightforward rules for not qualifying people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Soldiers diagnosed with diabetes after enlistment have higher chances of staying in the military if they can perform all duties well. They also need to undergo Medical Board Evaluation to get a thorough check-up.
Each branch in the US military has established different boards for medical evaluation. They check all soldiers to check if they are fit mentally and physically.
Suppose the soldiers do not have extreme symptoms associated with diabetes, like fainting during duty. In that case, they may qualify to serve in the military. However, medical boards have different rules for diabetes depending on the specific board and service member’s particular symptoms and severity level.
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Does The National Guard Take Diabetics
Diabetes usually disqualifies individuals from military service. 4 | The Average Salary of a Major General in the US Army National Guard Because diabetics are reliant on medication and may become in need of medical attention at any time, the various branches of the military — including the Army and the Army National Guard — do not typically allow either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetics to join. However, there is a very small chance that diabetics can enter military service. According to the Army website, diabetics who take insulin or other medication to manage their illness cannot join the Army or any of its branches. However, diabetics who do not take medication but instead manage their illness by watching their diet may have a slim chance of obtaining a medical waiver for enlistment. Whatever the likely outcome, it is important that military applicants be truthful about diabetes and other conditions with their recruiters. A failure to disclose medical issues can lead to a dishonorable discharge if it is discovered.Continue reading > >
A Year After Doctors Said He Wouldnt Be Allowed To Commission Air Force Academy Graduate Joins The Space Force
A year before Tanner Johnson was due to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, he was lying in a hospital bed and doctors were telling his family he had two hours to live.
His organs were shutting down due to complications caused by Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the cells that make insulin.
Type 1 diabetes usually affects young children and runs in families, but none of Johnsons relatives were diabetic. He was nearly 22when he was diagnosed in May 2020, two months after most cadets had been sent home as the academy scrambled to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus.
Johnson pulled through the worst of the health crisis and began to deal with his new reality.
The doctors said I would have to take insulin shots every day for the rest of my life, I would not be able to fly, I would not be allowed in the military, and wouldnt be allowed to return to the academy and graduate, Johnson said.
But he refused to accept what they said and set out to prove them wrong. He hoped to become the first person to be commissioned into the U.S. military with a medical condition that, up until then, was automatically disqualifying.
If you have Type 1, you become not deployable because you are taking insulin shots, said Lt. Col. Amy Carpenter, an assistant professor of biology at the academy and a certified diabetes counselor.
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Tricks You Can Try And Hoops You Can Jump Through
The key here seems to be whether or not you use insulin, but then it gets a little tricky. It is possible to slip through some loopholes here. If you are a Type 1 or a Type 2 diabetic that is taking insulin, you may be allowed to serve in a branch of the military, including, especially if you are already in. With Type 1, Type 1.5, and Type 2 diabetes that is well controlled and an A1C below 7, you may be able to stay in, even if you require insulin.
There will be some hoops to jump through, but your foot is already in the door, so to speak. You will need to submit waivers to your physicians and officers. You will go through medical testing to see if you are fit. You may be placed in a non-combat related position, such as the mess hall or an office, or allowed to remain in your current occupation if it is on the list of jobs that is permissible for a person with diabetes to hold. This list is called the Military Occupational Specialty list, or MOS.
Remember that Type 2 is progressive, and with subsequent beta cell destruction through the years, you may begin to require more insulin and it may become harder to keep your A1C below 7. At the point your diabetes becomes uncontrolled and your A1C is over 7, you could be discharged regardless.
The same would be true of a person with Type 1 diabetes. It depends on how determined you are to stay in active duty, and to keep your diabetes managed at all times. This can be a challenge in the military.
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Research Design And Methods
Data were collected from the Military Health System Management Analysis and Reporting Tool, which contains health care service data provided by military treatment facilities, civilian providers, hospitals, managed care support contractors, the Defense Manpower Data Center, and the Pharmacy Data Transaction Service, including inpatient, outpatient, pharmaceutical, and enrollment data. Laboratory data came from the MHS Composite Health Care System.
The blood samples for HbA1c and BMI measurements were obtained at any of the U.S. military treatment facilities worldwide either for a pre- or post-deployment medical evaluation or another form of clinical encounter unrelated to deployment. The HbA1c and BMI values that were included in the analysis were those collected at the time most proximal to, but within 3 mo of, the deployment date and at the time most proximal to, but within 3 mo of, the date of repatriation.
The presence of comorbid conditions before and after deployment was identified through relevant ICD-9 diagnosis codes. Diabetes-related medication data were collected by querying for relevant American Hospital Formulary Service therapeutic classes. Counts of the number of dispenses per therapeutic class by time period were calculated for each individual.
The study protocol was approved by the Air Force Regional Institutional Review Board at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center and the Defense Health Agency Privacy Office prior to data collection.
Determination Of Military Readiness
The medical board is established by each branch of the U.S. Military in order to ensure each service member that joins the military is prepared and ready for any type of situation.
Soldiers are deployed into all types of dangerous situations and must demonstrate basic physical and mental readiness.
Unfortunately, diabetes can cause an unnecessary distraction in times of combat.
It can damage the cohesiveness of a squad, and also put other soldiers at risk if they are attending to your medical needs during combat.
Sadly, diabetes adversely affects the career of a soldier as certain opportunities for promotion and development are restricted or blocked because of the medical condition.
It may prevent you from being able to go on certain assignments which ultimately fosters a bad psyche.
The Army, like other branches of the military, likes to remind servicemembers that the world in which they exist is far different from the real world.
Anything that can get away from the single-minded objective of completing a mission is a serious risk.
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