Diabetes And The Army...

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by cadetmong1990, Dec 18, 2008.

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  1. Hi all,

    I know that as a type one diabetic I am currently unable to join up. However, I would like to know if people though that I would be able to make it through RMA Sandhurst.

    I ask this because I have been given a taster of military life through my school CCF and I would like to take it to the next level. However the military prevents this. I've had diabetes since the age of five (now eighteen) and I've learned to adapt to anything that I do as far as my medical needs go. Through my CCF I've been able to do several summer camps run by regular army cadet training teams and I've found that I was more than able to adapt and cope with the demands put on me by those camps.

    More to the point, my CCF's commanding officer reckons that I could do it. A word about my CCF boss, he's a TA officer with experience of Iraq so I assume he knows what he's talking about and I trust him when he says that.

    What I also know is that there have been trials conducted in Finland to determine whether military service could be completed by diabetics (this was as a part of the national service programme the Finns run) The study proved that the highly motivated ones who had a strong understanding of their condition were able to complete service without interruption. What is more, a higher percentage of diabetic conscripts were chosen for leadership training than non diabetic conscripts. I am in possesion of a copy of the short version of the report so if anyone were to want to read it I am more than willing to e-mail a copy to them. Just send me a private message with an e-mail address and I'll get it to you. Furthermore, I know of an American soldier who despite being a type one diabetic was deployed to Iraq in 2004. He was a careers advisor. However, I believe that diabetics would be much more suited to combat support arms of the army; those such as the Royal Artillery, Signals and Engineers. I believe that being an infantryman would not be possible. The Finnish study of which I speak was conducted on signallers. I will leave a link to a news article regarding the American soldier with diabetes at the bottom of the page.

    What I would like are as many opinions as possible.

    Many thanks for your time.


  2. you might be able to get through training but what would you do if on ops you were at an FOB and unable to obtain the medication that you need, or match dietary intake with physical activity sufficiently to manage your condition?
    on ops you would end up as a liability that would unecessarily endanger yourself and others.
  3. I know of two guys who were diagnosed with diabetes and both then became insulin(couple of jabs a day)dependant.Both of them had to change job roles but have gone on to have pretty successful careers.

    Good luck
  4. Because of the 'never know' factor as to where you could be and what that might entail, I would have to answer, wilist you might make it through Sandhurst, as to you serving, my answer is, I'm sorry to say, 'no'.
  5. I think you'd have no problem if you're a sensible kinda chap who can mange his condition. i agree that the teeth arms is not the place for you though,however, i see no problems with a career in the support arms.Best of luck mate.
  6. i know one myself, but these were already in, for a new recruit the answer would have to be no. the army is not going to spend thousands putting someone through basic and a trade course for them not to be deployable from day one
  7. Agreed, sad but true. It has amputees in it, but it doesn't take them and put them through basic/Sandhurst.
  8. Yes these lads were already serving.One a Lance jack and other a full screw at the time.

    I think you have called that one right batfink.
  9. Developing a condition when enlisted is very different to joining up with it. JSP 346 says no, so the answer's no.

    CCF is very different to real soldiering, and your OC's opinion is exactly that, based on his own experience, and thus should not be taken as gospel. If you go to university then you might be able to join the UOTC, but that's as far as it goes unfortunately, unless you want to continue with the cadet force as an AI.

    It seems unfair but as pointed out there are good reasons for medical standards.
  10. You can however join the civi police. as someone in a the same boat as you, that's what i plan to do.
  11. Hi All,

    Many thanks for your posts that you have left me to mull over.

    I fully appreciate that CCF is vastly different to the real deal. I would like for people to read the link that I provided.

    As far as management of diabetes goes it can be as difficult or as easy as the sufferer decides to make it. I personally go for the latter. It is very easy (for me at any rate) to judge what I need to do and then make a decision and act upon it. During the past thirteen years I have never been admitted to hospital as a direct result of diabetes nor for any side effects thereof.
    My treatment consists of five injections a day; let me go into detail here. Two of these are absolute musts. They are the long acting twenty four hour insulin that allows the body to carry on working. The other three are short acting insulin which is designed to deal with the glucose produced from meals, if I don't eat I don't do the injection. It is very easy to adapt an insulin regime to whatever circumstances that I face. Being decisive is necesarry for this.
    Regarding keeping me supplied with insulin on active service it is relatively easy to carry large amounts of what I would require with me. The only problem I could forsee would be keeping the insulin below thirty degrees celcius, however, as the article (link in first post) shows this is remarkably easy to achieve due to advances in technology over the past few years. In everyday life the stuff I take with me everywhere is pretty small and fits easily into a pocket but more importantly could keep my ticking over for a week.
    Hypos I find are very quick and easy to treat. Eating to satisfy my energy demands would be reasonably simple I believe, there are techniques to ensure more accurate calculation of insulin doses (carbohyrate counting) which reduces the chances of hypos. Knowledge I already have suggests that I would need a reduced dose already due to activity, further reduction in dose is a question of being decisive.

    Many thanks.
  12. And if you were captured by third-world nutjobs who will physically and mentally torture you, what then? Do you think they will understand your medical condition when they may not understand English?

    You can put up all the evidence you like to support a case of why you should be given a chance to get in, and I admire and respect you for that, but in the cold light of day, they just don't cut it and aren't worth jack.
  13. Keeping someone on who is already in is one thing taking a recruit on is a diffrent thing altogether .Kit gets lost &broken .Some stuff can be replaced .They were not deploying anyone who needed regular medication
    when I went and I stayed at large camp .Think medics would have had a fit if asked to deploy a diabetic .God luck in what ever you chose but doubt
    the army want you.
  14. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator


    The military is the one of the very few employers left in the country that is exempt from conforming to the rules of the Disability Act that makes it illegal not to employ a person, specifically in the case we are discussing, with diabetes.

    As a type 1 you will become too much of a liability to those you serve around and yourself. You think that it is easy to keep insulin cool? It isn't in the majority of places we are deployed at the moment and refrigeration isn't often available. There are a multiple of other reasons we could discuss (diet, injury implications, risk of hypos, additional logistic strain etc etc) but I see little point in going through them.

    I like your spirit and positive approach to you condition but I'm sorry to say that the military just isn't going to be for you.

    Before you sound off about me not knowing about it, can I say I now have first hand knowledge about this. As a newly diagnosed Type 2, I know far more than I ever wanted to. A diabetes lifestyle requirements, particularly a type 1, are incompatible with a life in the Forces.
  15. copepod

    copepod Old-Salt Book Reviewer

    I was a TA Nursing Officer for 4 years, I resigned, intending to emigrate, but while overseas, developed Type 1 Diabetes. I can definitely state that there is nothing I did in the TA, nor on expeditions before & since diagnosis (both hot and cold) that I could not do now - if I were given the chance. I can't comment on RMAS, as I didn't go, although I was on the first joint AMS Junior Officers course.

    Refridgeration is not required for insulin - there are water activated cooling packs. As cadetmong states, a basal bolus regime is very flexible, with bolus doses only required with food, and basal doses varied according to activity, temperature, infection etc. In fact, it's more versatile than the dietary constraints of tablet or diet controlled Type 2 diabetes.

    For anyone who doubts what people with diabetes can do, see http://diabetic.friendsinhighplaces.org/ (Mountains for Active Diabetics)

    I suspect that many armed service medical staff choose service as they prefer to avoid the chronic conditions that dominate civilian medicine.