Does Exposure to Agent Orange cause Diabetes Mellitus?
There certainly appears to be a link between Agent Orange and Diabetes Mellitus. Agent Orange contains dioxin, a highly toxic chemical. Studies suggest that this toxic substance may cause specific types of cancer and other health issues in humans.
Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include extreme fatigue, thirst, and frequent urination. Diabetes Mellitus is an acute malady that causes high levels of blood sugar. Glucose is a sugary substance derived from food. With Type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce a sufficient amount of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose gets into your cells to give them energy. When the body does not manufacture enough insulin, the glucose remains and builds up in the blood. This can cause serious health issues, such as heart disease and stroke, as well as eye and kidney damage.
In the course of war, the U.S. sprayed Viet Nam with herbicides to destroy the thick jungle that served as a cover for enemy forces, to eliminate crops that opposition forces depended on, and to clear jungle foliage from the borders of U.S. encampments.
In response to the Agent Orange Act, passed by Congress, the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs was instructed to request a complete evaluation of the health effects of exposure to Agent Orange from the Institute of Medicine. In 1999, IOM called together a committee to conduct a review of the scientific evidence regarding the association, if any, between Type 2 diabetes and exposure to dioxin and other chemical compounds in herbicides used in Vietnam.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences concluded in its report, “Veterans and Agent Orange: Herbicide/Dioxin Exposure and Type 2 Diabetes,” that “there is limited, but suggestive evidence of an association between exposure to herbicides and type 2 diabetes.”
There appears to be a link between Agent Orange and Diabetes Mellitus, but more research is needed. The VA and other Federal government Departments and agencies continue to conduct extensive studies to evaluate the health effects of U.S. Veterans’ exposure to Agent Orange.
Meanwhile, the Veteran’s Administration presumes Veterans’ type 2 diabetes mellitus is linked to veterans’ exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Those who served in Vietnam and suffered exposure to herbicides are not required to prove a connection between their type 2 diabetes mellitus and military service to qualify for VA benefits.
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