Aside from being Diabetes Awareness month, November is also known for being the month when Veterans Day is celebrated (November 11, 2019). While this may come as a surprise to some, veterans are more at risk of having diabetes compared to most people. This is primarily due to the fact that veterans have a higher likelihood of obesity and almost 25% of veterans have been diagnosed with diabetes.
People that suffer from diabetes often need to follow a strict routine that requires regular insulin injections, glucose monitoring, and doctor visits. People with diabetes also follow a specific diet and workout plan as well. While this can seem doable and completely normal to do for some people, the same cannot be said for those who are veterans.
For many veterans, managing diabetes can seem like an added burden on top of the many health concerns that they deal with on a day-to-day basis. After all, it can be difficult enough to get therapy and medical assistance for injuries and disability, diabetes care, therefore, seems to take a backseat as a result.
However, neglecting to put diabetes care first can have devastating effects on one’s health and may lead to even more complications with existing medical problems or injuries. Finding suitable diabetes care that takes into account the needs of veterans is essential.
Luckily, many government offices, including VA, have begun offering dedicated diabetic care and support programs for a number of eligible veterans. Taking the time to look at these different plans and enrolling in the best one is already a step in the right direction. Many care plans are usually individualized and have diet counseling, weight loss programs, and blood sugar monitoring as inclusions already.
Many veterans, however, value their independence and may be averse to the idea of having to go to the experts for help. Or, some of them just physically can’t go to the clinic and may only have home care as their option. In many cases, autonomy support has shown to be an effective type of support for these kinds of patients.
Care providers and even family members can help encourage veterans with diabetes to be more proactive about taking insulin or monitoring their glucose levels by simply respecting their boundaries and needs. When a person knows that their loved ones and health care professionals respect their wishes and goals, they become more motivated to follow their health care plans.
Diabetes care is no walk in the park, especially not for veterans who suffer from it. However, that does not mean that help is not available to them. This Diabetes awareness month and Veterans’ Day, think about reaching out to a loved one to let them know that there are forms of social support that will help them feel empowered instead of powerless. Their future health is worth it.