Diabetes refers to a medical condition where men cannot produce enough insulin, use it properly or a combination of both. Lack of insulin can lead to build of glucose in the blood, which if left untreated, can cause serious health problems. Diabetes in men increases the risk of having cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke. While it is not yet established what really causes diabetes, it is believed the disease is caused by different factors such as environmental and genetic factors. Men who live a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of getting diabetes. Also, men who are overweight or obese have increased risk of contracting this disease. Diabetes in men occurs when the blood sugar levels are in the excess of 140 mg/dL and can affect men of all ages.
Types of diabetes in men
There are two types of diabetes in men, that is, type 1 diabetes (T1D) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). T1D refers to a medical condition where the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin refers to a natural hormone which helps glucose enter the cells for energy. Glucose is a form of sugar which is one of the biggest sources of energy. While T1D mostly occurs in adults and children, it can happen to anyone regardless of their age. There is no cure for T1D. People who are diagnosed with type diabetes are put through a treatment program that involves insulin medications, diet plan and exercise program. T2D refers to a condition where the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin or use it properly. This leads to a build of glucose in the blood, which if not treated, can lead to serious health complications including death. Therefore, unlike T1D, people who have T2D are able to produce insulin, but not in enough amounts. In addition, T2D people cannot properly use the insulin they make, a condition know as insulin resistance. T2D is the most common form of diabetes affecting men today. Reports show that 95 percent of men with diabetes have T2D.
Signs and Symptoms
There are signs and symptoms of diabetes that can show in both men and women. However, there are some symptoms which are unique to men alone. If you notice any signs and symptoms of diabetes in men, it is advisable that you visit your doctor immediately. This is because early diagnosis and treatment of the condition can prevent progression of the disease. So what are the diabetes symptoms in men?
The following are signs and symptoms that are unique to men alone:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Itching around the penis
- Loss of libido
- Sexual impotency
- Reduced strength because of loss of muscle mass
- Recurrent thrush periods around the genitals
Because of an increase in blood sugar levels, it can lead to early signs of diabetes in men. If you notice any of these early signs of diabetes, you should get tested for diabetes. When diabetes is treated early it can prevent the risk of serious health complication.
- Increased hunger
- Increased thirst
- Blurry vision
- Sores that won’t heal in type 2 diabetes
- Increased urination at night
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dry mouth
Pre diabetes symptoms in men
Pre diabetes refers to a condition where your blood glucose levels are higher than usual, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Pre diabetes could be an early sign that you are on your way to diabetes. If pre diabetes is diagnosed early, you can reduce the risk of stroke or heart disease. If you have pre diabetes, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Blurry vision
- Unexplained fatigue
If the skin of your armpit, back of the neck, groin and knuckles are darkened more than usual, it could be a first sign that you have pre diabetes. Pre diabetes can be treated by adopting a healthy diet, exercise, treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol level, and quitting smoking. In case you notice any of these symptoms of pre diabetes, you seek medical attention immediately.
Causes of diabetes in men
There are different factors which can contribute to diabetes in men. For example, ethnicity, genetic makeup, family history and environmental factors can increase your risk of having diabetes. Note that T1D and T2D are caused by different factors that is not common in either condition. T1D is as a result of the immune system destroying the beta cells in the pancreas that are responsible for producing insulin. Other factors that can cause T1D include bacterial infection, exposure to viruses, and chemical toxins in food. T2D is caused by different factors, but the most common is genetic and lifestyle. With genetics, it doesn’t mean that if your parents had T2D, it’s a guarantee you will get. Rather, it means that you have a higher risk of getting T2D if your parents had the condition. Lifestyle factors that can cause T2D in men include lack of exercise, obesity, and unhealthy meal plans. When you don’t exercise regularly and take high fat food, it can contribute to obesity which causes diabetes in men. Another factor that causes T2D is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance refers to a condition where the body becomes resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance is the most common cause of T2D in men. However, it is likely you can have T2D without being insulin resistant.
The key goal of treating diabetes in men is to keep the blood glucose levels under control. This can be achieved through regular exercise program and healthy diet plan. In case exercise and diet doesn’t work, your doctor may prescribe insulin therapy to help manage your blood sugar levels. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is important you check your blood sugar regularly. This will help your doctor know if the treatment is working or whether you need a change. There might not be a cure for diabetes but you can live a healthy life if you adopt the right treatment plan and stick to it as recommended by your doctor.
Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.