MedHelp.org will cease operations on May 31, 2024. It has been our pleasure to join you on your health journey for the past 30 years. For more info, click here.
1341894 tn?1276125780

Agent Orange & type 1 diabetes

The VA is claiming I have type 1 diabetes and thus they are not responsible.  I was 29 and 2 years back from Vietnam (III corps area, which was the most heavily sprayed area in Vietnam) when I was diagnosed.  My diagnosis was type II and I took Orinease (no insulin) for the first 2 to 2 1/2 years and was fine on this (some high sugars but overall within an acceptable range).  Sometime between the 2nd and 3rd year my sugars went up and my doctor added long acting insulin (1 shot in the am) which brought things under control.

My doctor says agent orange does not cause type 1 diabetes, but when I pressed him about the dioxin exposure triggering it he said it could have but also says it could have been caused by a cold, but says he is not convinced that agent orange even causes type 2.  He acts as if he does not care, making me feel the government is simply using the numbers game (not enough people who were in Vietnam and later developed type 1 diabetes) to deny coverage.  I am only asking for medical coverage and perhaps some admission that it may not have been all my fault that I got diabetes as my wife seems to think.

Is it possible that I had type 2 diabetes that somehow turned into type 1?  Is there any definitave test that would determine what type of diabetes I had at age 29 (I am now 66)?

There are several stories on the web about people who were in Vietnam and later developed type 1 diabetes.  Please contact me if you are, or know someone who fits this category.  Thanks in advance!  ***@****  
9 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
Avatar universal
I had pancreatitis while on active duty. problem is my AD med rec has the netry, but the doctor notes and tests are MISSING! It reads that I had to see the MS (Dr) before I could leave sickbay (I had been admitted).

IMO even active duty doctors work to bloc/obstruct/minimize your chances of getting VA bennies.

BTW I have been labeled and re-labeled may times. Seems to depend on which way the wind is blowing at any given moment.
I also had DOCUMENTED  symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis while on active duty. I fought the VA over the MS issue for over 23 YEARs!
Since I am over 50% SC rated, I get FREE medical care, including my weird/wild type-1b diabetes.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I am a type 1 diabetic that is trying to do research on the correlation between type 1 diabetes and agent orange exposure because my dad was in Vietnam and Korea and I and at least 2 other people I know of have type 1 diabetes and no one else in our families has it.  I am trying to find information on parents that were exposed to agent orange and their children developing type 1 diabetes.  If anyone has any information or can help please contact me  through private message
Helpful - 0
I don't have any information, but best of luck as you do your reasearch on this.  
I read your comment trying to link type 1 Diabetes with your fathers exposure to agent orange.  I know it’s been awhile since you posted but, have you had any one who had information on this.  I am needing this information as well.
Thank you, pm211
Avatar universal
First of all, Welcome Home

I was boots on the ground in Vietnam from March of 67 to October of 68..  I'm 100% positive I was exposed to Agent Orange.  I got out of the service in August of 69.  I was diagnosed with "Type 2" diabetes in October of 89.  After a few years of oral medications and diet changes (I was not over weight or anything close to it) I was diagnosed as a "Type 1".
I filed a claim for Agent Orange Disability in 2008 and was denied, because none of my records (at that time) indicated I was "Type 2".  I did not appeal it, because I couldn't prove otherwise.  I have, since, found some information from my first doctor, indicating that she did diagnose me as "Type 2".  I am in the process of re-filing for my benefits.   I'm hoping I can get them.   I suffer from severe diabetic neuropathy in my legs and feet.  I wear braces from my foot bed almost to my knees.  I have diabetic retinopathy, thyroid problems and I'm on an insulin pump.

Let me know if you did get any benefits.  I will do the same for you.

Thank you
Mike Slusser
Helpful - 0
UPDATE!  I had refiled my claim for Diabetes compensation.  I got a Compensation/Benefits meeting with an NP for my Diabetes and Neuropathy.  Though I originally diagnosed as a T2, in 89, my Endocrinologist change it to T1 in 95.   Then it was changed to
LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults),  I had started seeing Endocrinology at the Buffalo VA and apparently they put me
down as a T2, so this NP saw that and told me I shouldn't have any issues with my claim being put through for Insulin dependent Type 2 and also my Neuropathy.  Plus, I just got an appointment for my Retinopathy claim.  So things are moving along and I'm hoping in my favor.

So, don't despair, keep your claims active, get with your county VSO or DAV.  They can help you at no charge.

Have a great Veterans Day!
3212382 tn?1416375622
  I was also in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968. I was on a LST ( brown water Navy) and about 3 years after I got discharged I came down with diabetes. They started me out right away on insulin so I might have been a type 2 but have no proof of that. The VA only recognizes type 2 while my civilian doctor told me flat out that a dioxin like agent orange would stop your pancreas from working altogether. I ask if she would write a statement saying that more likely than not this would happen, but she did not want to get involved with the politics of agent orange. I smell a rat at the VA because they won't service connect type 1's and the congress passed a law that us veterans can't sue Dow Chemical. Just because only 5% of us are type 1 does not give them the right to turn us away. I can eat myself into a type 2 diabetic. I have appealed so many times that it isn't funny anymore. I was also exposed to a nuclear test (Milrow) and have been turn down for that also. I guess I don't know how to fake something that the VA says ( because of the number's) is service connected. They need to have type 1 diabetes and see how devastating a disease it can be everyday for the rest of your life and maybe they would reconsider there decision.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I am a Type 1 diabetic, though I was originally diagnosed as a type 2 by my
GP.  This was in 1989, I was 42 years old.   I served in Vietnam from 3/67 thru 10/68.  The areas I served were Long Binh/Binh Hoa, and Quin Hon.
Both areas were heavily defoilaged by Agent Orange, just prior to my arrival.  I'm 100% certain of my exposure to it.
I have no family history of diabetes, other than a step sister who was obese and is now under control with diet and exercise.

I applied for benefits back in 2004.  My endocrinologist wrote the report on
my medical condition and listed me as a type 1 diabetic, so I was rejected.
I recently started using the VA for some benefits and in my initial visit with my doctor there, she said if I could come up with the paperwork from my first diagnosis, she could guarantee I would be able to get at least 30% or more in disability for Agent Orange exposure.  I am in the process of doing this. Problem being my original doctor has long left the area and practice.  The practice has gone through 4 other doctors since.  The do have the records archived and it's just the problem of getting them and going through things.   I guess I would have thought that filing something my name and year would have been normal, but apparently not.
I will let you know how I progress on this.  It's not that I need the money, but being Type 1 and on a pump, there are a lot of bills that aren't covered by my HMO.
I wish you all well
Helpful - 0
1916673 tn?1420233270
Type 1 diabetes is largely genetic, so my first thoughts are ... did either of your parents or your grandparents have Type 1 diabetes? This would be a major indicator of you having Type 1 as a direct result of genetics, rather than any other influence. Type 2 diabetes can transgress over time into Type 1, simply because the pancreas isn't able to continue producing insulin that the body needs. With the added strain over several years (usually caused through obesity or trauma), the pancreas becomes worn out sooner than in a normal lifespan - and when no insulin is being produced or when the existing cells cannot be encouraged through medication to produce more insulin, Type 1 then materialises. Tony
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I was in Viet Nam in 1968. Quang Tri Province. I was discharged in 1974. I became ill with Diabetes in 1976. I am the only one in my family of 8 kids that aquired Diabetes. Of course I was put on Insulin right away. The VA denied my claim also because they say I have type 1 and the are not responsible. Getting Diabetes Type 1 is due to your immune system killing all the icelet cells in you pancreas. I wonder if Agent Orange had anything to do with that.
Go Figure.
Former Marine, one a Marine always a Marine.
Helpful - 0
My husband got deathly ill while he was at a Futenma and we found out he was a type I diabetes after leaving Okinawa. I know know of 4 Marines 2 at Futenma and 2 at Foster who all became type 1 diabetics. I am a type 2 and about to file for VA benefits. I know Agent Orange was on Camp Kinser I  used to PT by them all the time. I have no doubt that Agent Orange is the reason Marines were sick with Type 1.
Hello mhelbert.  Thanks for your comment.  It sounds like your family has dealt with a lot.  Is there any compensation for his exposure to Agent Orange? We wish you and your husband the very best.
Avatar universal
I was stationed aboard an aircraft carrier in the gulf of Tonkin in 1966. The ship made our own drinking/cooking water from sea water. So everything that washed off the land and into the rivers ended up in the gulf. I am the only one in my family with type one diabetes, which started sometime after separation in June of 68. I have long suspected SOME kind of connection with my military service assignments ( nuclear weapons tech, or A/O). You might want to search bluewaterveterans. Two senators , one being Schumer and Linsay Graham have been pushing for more recognition for Navy vets and service connection problems. Since we weren't boots on the ground, we have been denied benefits. I am looking to make a connection with type 1 diabetes and ANY vets that were exposed to agent orange or any other toxins. As I said above, I am the only family member that was in the military, aboard ship, and in south east asia. Email me at ***@**** if you have any of these same circumstances.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I don't know anything about Agent Orange and diabetes. Perhaps you can do a search on it. I also belong to a website with 15,000 members and if you send me a private message I'll give you that site as there are many more diabetics (and the people they may know) that might have some information.

As for your type> Type 2 diabetes does not " turn into" Type 1. However, it is now known that between 10 and 20% of Type 2's were misdiagnosed and are actually something called LADA which is a slow onset form of Type 1. The fact that you only maintained on oral meds for 2-3 years makes it sound like you might be LADA which they knew nothing about back then. Were you normal weight then? Did you have any other autoimmune disease (such as thyroid). Those are common signs of LADA. The only definitive test for Type (especially this long after diagnosis) is the GAD antibody. Type 2's don't have any antibodies.
Helpful - 0

You are reading content posted in the Diabetes - Type 1 Community

Top Diabetes Answerers
231441 tn?1333892766
Manila, Philippines
Learn About Top Answerers
Popular Resources
Here are three summertime recipes that will satisfy your hunger without wreaking havoc on your blood sugar.
If you have prediabetes, type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable. Find out how you can stop diabetes before it starts.
Diabetes-friendly recipes and tips for your game day party.
Are there grounds to recommend coffee consumption? Recent studies perk interest.
Simple ways to keep your blood sugar in check.
8 blood sugar-safe eats.