Diabetes: "Silent Epidemic" Among Veterans in Utah

Published on March 18, 2014 at 12:55PM

Veterans in Utah may be interested in knowing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is dedicating resources to better manage diabetes, which the V.A. calls a “silent epidemic.” Type 2 diabetes affects almost 20 percent of veterans who use V.A. healthcare, compared to about eight percent of the general population. Dr. Timothy O’Leary is the acting director at the Office of Research and Development at the V.A. He says diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney disease and amputation in the U.S., and up to 80 percent of patients with diabetes will face heart attack or stroke.

Dr. O’Leary says group meetings are proving to be a successful method to help people keep blood sugar controlled. The V.A. has also found that having veterans use pedometers encourages more physical activity, which can help keep diabetes under control.