Diabetes Risk for Men
Men with diabetes face several health concerns, including increased risk of heart attacks and strokes and impotence (not being able to have or keep an erection).
Above the age of 50, the likelihood of having difficulties with an erection occurs in approximately 50-60% of men with diabetes. In men over 70, 90% have erectile dysfunction problems (link to diabetes and ED page)
Diagnosed and controlled, diabetes can be successfully managed to minimise its impact on health and well being. You can prevent or delay diabetes complications like damage to eye sight and nerve damage to fingers and toes. However many men do not realise they suffer from the disease. Around one third of the men with diabetes are not aware of their illness.
Diabetes Signs and Symptoms
If you find yourself with any of the following symptoms, it is important you visit your doctor or health practitioner and get tested for diabetes:
>> feeling tired
>> frequent urination (especially at night)
>> being very thirsty
>> weight loss
>> blurry eyesight
>> recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
>> sores that heal slowly
>> dry, itchy skin
>> loss of feeling or tingling in your feet
Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
There are different kinds of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is usually first diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. People can develop it at any age, but it is often diagnosed in later life and is commonly found in men who are over weight and do little exercise.
What is Diabetes?
Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (sugar) for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas makes insulin, which helps sugar get into the cells. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it does make. This causes sugar to build up in your blood. Over the years, high blood sugar leads to problems like heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve problems, gum infections, and amputations.
Diabetes-Related Problems in Men
Men with diabetes suffer more from some diabetes-related health problems than women. The American Diabetes Association reports that:
In people who develop diabetes before the age of 30, men develop retinopathy (a vision disorder that can lead to blindness) more quickly than women.
Having the main symptoms of peripheral vascular disease (pain in the thigh, calf, or buttocks during exercise) is linked to a two- to three-fold increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or cardiac failure in men with diabetes.
Amputation rates from diabetes-related problems are 1.4 to 2.7 times higher in men than women with diabetes.
Pot Belly Equals High Diabetes Risk
Overall obesity, measured by high body mass index (BMI) and pot belly, measured by a large waist circumference, both accurately predict the risk of type 2 diabetes in men, but abdominal obesity appears to be the better predictor, new research shows.*
Both BMI and waist circumference are useful for assessing health but waist circumference can indicate a strong risk for diabetes whether or not a man is considered overweight or obese according to his BMI, researchers said.
As waist circumference increased, so did the risk of developing diabetes, with the risk in men with the highest waist circumference (up to 158 centimeters) increasing by 12 times.
The study findings also suggest that the currently recommended cutoff for high waist circumference of 102 cm (40 inches) for men may need to be lowered to 95 cm.
Many of the men who developed type 2 diabetes had measurements lower than the cutoff and the risk associated with the waist circumference increased at a much lower level than previously thought.
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Increases Diabetes Risk
Men who sleep too much or too little are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a study by the New England Research Institutes in collaboration with Yale School of Medicine researchers.
Six to eight hours of sleep was found to be most healthy.
In contrast, men who reported they slept between five and six hours per night were twice as likely to develop diabetes and men who slept more than eight hours per night were three times as likely to develop diabetes. Previous data have shown similar results in women.
The elevated risks remained after adjustment for age, hypertension, smoking status, self-rated health status and education.
Too little sleep appears to produce metabolic disturbances like decreased carbohydrate tolerance, insulin resistance, and lower levels of the hormone leptin leading to obesity. The mechanisms by which long sleep duration increase diabetes risk requires further investigation.
You Can Delay or Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
When you take steps to prevent diabetes, you also lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation.
Small changes in your lifestyle can make a difference.
Getting 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week and losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight.
To help you lose weight, choose low-fat foods and foods high in fiber.
Cut down on fat and cholesterol by having low-fat dairy products, lean cuts of meat, fish, poultry, fruits, and vegetables.
Limit foods high in salt and sugar.
Know Your Risks That Can Lead to Type 2 Diabetes
It’s important to find out early if you have type 2 diabetes or if you are at risk of developing it. To find out if you’re at risk, check off each item that applies to you.
I am overweight or obese. (Obesity is measured with a body mass index (BMI), which shows the relationship of weight to height.)
I have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes.
My family background is African American, American Indian, Asian American, Latino, Maori or Pacific Islander.
I have high blood pressure.
My cholesterol is not normal. My HDL or “good” cholesterol is less than 50 or my triglycerides are 250 or higher.
I am not very active. I exercise less than three times each week.
Talk to your doctor or health care practitioner about the risks that you checked off. If you are age 45 or older, also talk about getting tested for Type 2 diabetes. If your test result is normal, you should then be tested every three years. People younger than age 45 who are overweight or obese and checked off any of the items above should also talk about getting tested for diabetes
* SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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