The military does a lot to ensure that its members stay fit and healthy. Daily exercise routines, healthy meals, and regular checkups are all a part of being ready to defend our nation. However, life sometimes throws you a curve ball as it did with me when I developed diabetes while I was on Active Duty.
The bad news is that hundreds of service members are diagnosed with diabetes each year. This bad news can bring a host of ramifications if diabetes is not managed and an A1C is not kept under 6.0. Medical alert tags are prescribed, medical restrictions are implemented, and you run the risk of not being able to deploy to combat.
The good news is that there is perhaps no better place to be diabetic than in the military as there are a ton of resources available to you, and forced upon you, to get you healthy. These resources were apparent to me during my diagnoses and to be honest, I was overwhelmed by the support. Not only were there diabetic counselors available to help service members understand their new disease, but there were also nutrition counselors, doctors, and a prescribed treatment plan.
Looking back, I believe that there is no reason for a service member to become a diabetic as long as they watch their diet and get in several hours of exercise per week. If given the opportunity, many of us will skip out on one or the other. Looking at my case of diabetes, I often wonder if I could have avoided being a diabetic by doing a little more physical exercise, or by eating healthier meals. Considering that I was able to get my A1C to an acceptable level by dieting and exercise, the answer is a resounding “yes.”