What Is Diabetes Mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how the body uses up blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to one’s health because it is an important source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and tissues, as well as the brain. Chronic diabetes conditions include type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These types of diabetes are the most common, with just over 34.2 million (or about 1 in 10) Americans being diagnosed with one of these types.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are:
- Increased thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections
- Frequent urination
While the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, the mechanism which produces its effects is well studied. In cases of type 1 diabetes, the individual’s immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This leaves affected individuals with little or no insulin in their system, causing sugar to build up in their bloodstream. Those who have type 1 diabetes must receive insulin injections every day to prevent an unhealthy buildup of sugar in their blood.
Type 2 diabetes, which is much more common than type 1, results from the development of cell resistance to the action of insulin. When the pancreas can no longer make enough insulin to overcome this resistance, sugar builds up in the bloodstream. Being overweight is one of the most prevalent risk factors associated with developing type 2 diabetes, and the main reason why many individuals with type 2 diabetes can manage their condition with proper diet and exercise alone. That is the main difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Everyone with type 1 diabetes has to take insulin, whereas only about 30 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes require insulin therapy.
Getting Service Connected For Diabetes Mellitus
Of all the service connected conditions related to the endocrine system, diabetes mellitus is the most common, making up over 85 percent of all endocrine-related disability claims. In order to gain service connection for this condition, veterans must provide evidence proving that the condition is service connected because it was either (1) caused by their military service or (2) was made worse by their military service. The most important records that can provide this type of support are medical records.
Ideally, any medical records a veteran provides to the VA will show that the veteran received treatment in service, was diagnosed with diabetes in service, or that his or her diabetes was caused by a service connected condition. Additional helpful evidence sources are service personnel records showing a change in mood or performance that resulted due to the veteran’s diabetic symptoms or any incidents caused by his or her diabetic symptoms (such as fainting, falling asleep on duty, etc.).
How The VA Rates Diabetes Mellitus
Under 38 CFR § 4.119, the VA rates diabetes mellitus on a rating schedule of ten to one-hundred.
Diagnostic Code 7913: Diabetes mellitus
- 100 – Requiring more than one daily injection of insulin, restricted diet, and regulation of activities (avoidance of strenuous occupational and recreational activities) with episodes of ketoacidosis or hypoglycemic reactions requiring at least three hospitalizations per year or weekly visits to a diabetic care provider, plus either progressive loss of weight and strength or complications that would be compensable if separately evaluated
- 60 – Requiring one or more daily injection of insulin, restricted diet, and regulation of activities with episodes of ketoacidosis or hypoglycemic reactions requiring one or two hospitalizations per year or twice a month visits to a diabetic care provider, plus complications that would not be compensable if separately evaluated
- 40 – Requiring one or more daily injection of insulin, restricted diet, and regulation of activities
- 20 – Requiring one or more daily injection of insulin and restricted diet, or; oral hypoglycemic agent and restricted diet
- 10 – Manageable by restricted diet only
Help With Your Diabetes Mellitus Claim
If you are a veteran with diabetes and want to get service connection for your condition, contact our office today for a free claim evaluation. Our experienced veterans law attorneys are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve, regardless of where you are at in the VA disability claims process.