Innovative treatment for Vets with Type 2 diabetes

Solutions for Veterans’ diabetes


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Currently, VA offers medical care including diet counseling, weight loss programs, and blood glucose monitoring for the 1.5 million Veterans enrolled in VA health care who have Type 2 diabetes.

When a person has Type 2 diabetes, the body’s resistance to insulin — a hormone that helps move sugar into cells — causes high blood glucose levels.  This, in turn, may cause other health problems, such as damage to nerves and blood vessels, increased risk of stroke or heart disease, or kidney failure.

Dr. Laurence J. Meyer, chief officer of specialty care services at VA, said that Veterans who carry excess body weight may be at risk for a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. More than 50 percent of Veterans in VHA care are overweight or obese.

VA is exploring an innovative treatment that would offer Veterans another diabetes management option in addition to those already available in VA.

Planned partnership will benefit Veterans

VA’s Office of Specialty Care Services is exploring a partnership with Virta Health Corp., an online specialty medical clinic, to offer Veterans this option.

Virta focuses on reversing Type 2 diabetes through noninvasive treatments including dietary guidance and the use of medical specialists’ expertise, peer support, and health coaching.

Through this partnership, Virta will offer free individualized diabetes management planning to a limited number of Veterans for the length of treatment, which is typically one year. This small pilot of Veterans with non-insulin dependent type II diabetes is designed for 400 patients.

The enrollment details and instructions are still under development, and the enrollment timeline will be announced when the partnership is finalized.

Virta’s approach

The partnership with Virta would add to the current Type 2 diabetes care offered by VA. Veterans would receive continuous telehealth support from Virta’s care team, comprised of medical providers and health coaches, and close guidance in following an individualized nutrition plan based on carbohydrate restriction. This approach, Dr. Meyer says, can lead to sustained improvement in glycemic control and weight loss.

“Many Veterans have trouble managing their diabetes and blood sugar, and many struggle with their weight and sticking to any diet,” Dr. Meyer said. “This leads to a lot of functional limitations. This partnership is potentially a way that some Veterans might benefit from this care on an individual basis.”

Partnerships augment VA services

VHA’s Office of Community Engagement (OCE) is a trusted resource and catalyst for the growth of effective partnerships at the national, state, and community level, and facilitates establishment of partnerships such as this one. VHA is committed to working with Veterans to optimize their health and well-being.

Working with nongovernmental community partners supports Veterans’ freedom of choice in health care, expands access to care and services that augment what VHA offers, and exemplifies VHA’s priority of bringing Veterans quality care, wherever they are, through partnerships.

The enrollment details are still under development until the partnership is finalized.  Instructions for interested providers and Veterans are forthcoming.    

Learn more about OCE’s work to establish partnerships that prioritize Veterans’ health and well-being.

We encourage you to find out if you – or someone you love – is at risk for type 2 diabetes by taking this quick and simple Diabetes Risk Test.

Editor note: This blog has been updated on April 3, 2019, from an earlier version.


Jamie D. Davis, PhD, is a Health System Specialist with the VHA Office of Community Engagement. Jamie D. Davis, Ph.D., is a Health System Specialist with the VHA Office of Community Engagement.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Steven Kenneth    

    Hey, it’s nice to know you are taking the steps to help veterans. But the non-invasive treatments which you’ve mentioned are things which are generally practiced right ? Everyone goes on dietary restriction and include exercise in their routine the moment they have diabetes. My mom has it and these are the first steps a doctor prescribes.

  2. Jacqueline Glasgow    

    Actually it is. In following normal dietary guidelines I got overweight and diabetes type 2. However I tried keto, which is a low carb high fat way of eating similar to that of Virta and not only did I lose weight and reverse my diabetes I’m off my mobility scooter as the pain from osteoarthritis, diverticulitis, IBS and psoriasis has gone. I have more energy, sleep better and am no longer incontinent and I eat when I’m hungry, have delicious food and don’t have to count calories. I’m off several meds and coming off antidepressants which I’d been on most of my life. What would you call innovative? A magic pill. The best medicine is the right food. Try it. You’ll be amazed!

  3. Erlene Y Lumpkin    

    I am a diabetic have been since 1985, 4 insulins shots a day sugars out of control I have rheumatoid arthritis , my hands tingle and go numb a lot, somedays unable to check my blood glucose, so therefore I am not able to manage my sugars and well as I need to. I would like to get the Freestyle Libre Meter, but the Doctor will not write a script for it, how can I get one? They tell me I do not qualify for it!!

  4. Gary Whitsett    

    VA should allow vets with type 2 diabetes more test strips! When my readings vary any where from 80s to 150, I need to check it at least once daily, NOT just twice a week. We need all the help we can get to combat this disease, and daily testing is really a necessity.
    Thank you,

  5. Daniel L. Bryce    

    This program might help me.
    I will see my primary health provider see if he can get me enrolled.

    1. Tara Thompson    

      I asked my husband’s VA doc to get him in this program. She knows nothing about it or how to get him in it.

  6. Crockett White    

    I am diabetic and would like to try this program to control or eliminate type 2 diabetes.

  7. Susan Smythe    

    Diet changes is not innovative treatment.

    1. john smith    

      Susan, you are obviously clueless the way the ketogenic diet works. Meds are not the solution and they failed miserably.

  8. MT    

    Wow! So very excited to see how this plays out. I think that keto and IF (Intermittent Fasting) done safely and correctly will surely reverse T2D in many veterans resulting in longer and healthier lives.

  9. Jerryhamilton    

    I have bladder cancer-the va took the bladder out and messed up my interest not sometimes I can not (redacted) “go” -for almost 2 years my wife had to take me to the hospital in Decatur al I would stay 3 days until things worked it self out -not I still have the problem and no body can fix it -now the doctor that was supposed to in the or to do the surgery wasn’t even there two other person did it -I’m not sure if they were doctors But something went wrong and I didn’t even get I’m sorry from anybody it would help me to understand if someone look into this and tell what went wrong

  10. Ted Goodwin    

    VA Health,

    About 6 years ago I was diagnosed with diabetes II and my doctor put me on several statins for about 1 year without CO-Q10.

    After about 1 year of this I started to investigate the affects of statins. I didn’t like what
    I was reading about them. I stopped them and stopped eating sugar, artificial sweeteners, HFCS, sodas and diet sodas, cakes, cookies, ice cream and processed meats and foods as much as possible. I started eating more fruits and vegetables, grass fed beef and free range chickens when I could find them. I drink one drink of red dry wine and eat 1 piece of dark chocolate 3 or 4 times per week. At the time I weighed 181 pounds. My chart weight is 148. It took a couple of months to get there, but I made it and still hover around that mark today. My A1C is now within range but my doctor still says I must MANAGE diabetes for life, there is no CURE.

    The reason I am contacting you is that since you now have an innovated treatment plan in process, I wonder if you will try the above with some patients and see if a CURE results.

    I am retired military but do not use the VA health service at this time. I am very interested in your results with the innovated treatment or, if you use the above, how it affects patients. In the meantime, please advise me if there is a CURE for diabetes II.

    Ted Goodwin (redacted)
    Orlando, FL

  11. stanley    

    I have type 2 diabetes. I am NOT overweight. How about a self help for folks like me. 5′ 11″ , 155 lbs. If I don’t watch carefully my blood sugars soar to over 225.

  12. John Leeper    

    This is exactly the wrong way to treat diabetes, contributes to heart disease and cancer is an unsustainable long term solution although diet is the ONLY permanent answer. Highly acclaimed physician and author,Dr. Neal Barnard has published peer reviewed studies proving that a whole plant food diet that is HIGH in carbohydrate and low in fat reverses heart disease and diabetes. You will notice that the Canadian government’s new food pyramid which was created by scientists who did not include the paid consultants and propagandists of the animal food industries is almost 100% health promoting, high fiber, high carbohydrate plant foods. The Canadians have to pay the bill for their health care so they publish what is proven to work long term. Anyone reading this should go to youtube to Nutritionfacts.org and subscribe for the real science on health and diabetes. Please end your suffering now!

  13. kent blanchard    

    i have type2 diabetes and psoriasis.i try to diet accordingly. need help with diet options.i have neuropathy and inflamed foot and hand pads( like walking on broken glass and grabbing an electric fence),so exercising is very painful.

  14. Donald Findlay    

    NOTHING MUCH NEW IN THIS MESSAGE

  15. Ronald Sackett    

    Part of weight control is exercise. Why doesn’t the VA provided paid sponsorships to health clubs to allow the Vets to get more exercise and help to lose weight. Eastern Michigan University and Washtenaw Community College have great facilities but cost to much for membership.

    Ron

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