LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - According to the Department of Veterans Affairs nearly one in four veterans has diabetes and it's estimated that over 70 percent of veterans receive care for diabetes.
In East Texas, the Lufkin Memorial VFW Post 1836 Auxiliary group is hoping to turn those stats around by raising awareness.
"We have a lot of veterans that go undiagnosed with diabetes simply because they don't know the warning signs," said Tammie Mosby, president of the auxiliary group district 19.
Treasurer Desiree Swartz, the disease hits close to home where she has a family member who is a diabetic. But she said she see a homeless veterans who are the most affected because many times it's lack of access to treatment.
"Where they can only seek treatment in only certain places if they couldn't get into those places, they couldn't get treated, they couldn't get checked. And when they can't get checked, they can't control it," Swartz said. "Which ends up costing more medical bills and we end up losing some of our veterans because it's too late."
Swartz said it has gotten easier with since bills have been passed for more access, however, veterans are 2.5 times more likely that non-veterans to have diabetes according a journal for health care professionals of the VA, DOD and DNS called Federal Practitioner.
"Bringing awareness to that and letting them know the signs to look out for will help, hopefully curb that and which ends up costing more medically bills in the long run than if they just got tested," Swartz said.
The journal also cites that the Department of Veterans Affairs spends one point $5 billion to treat patients.