Type 2 diabetes is one of the top ten health issues for men, affecting not only mortality, but also quality of life. With risks increasing from the age of 35, men with Type 2 diabetes are 3 to 4 times more likely to have strokes and heart attacks than non-diabetic men. Add into the melting pot the commonly associated health issues such as being overweight, suffering stress, poor sleep, high blood pressure or high cholesterol and there is a storm brewing.
Here’s the 5 point plan if you’re a man on the cusp of type 2 diabetes or needing to change your risk factors to avoid this storm.
1. The symptoms you need to know
Men and women have similar rates of developing type 2 diabetes and experience common symptoms, due to the changes in insulin regulation that comes with diabetes. Some of these symptoms include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Unintended weight loss or gain
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections
Unique to men however, is erectile dysfunction, retrograde ejaculation, low testosterone and decreased sex drive.
Erectile dysfunction may be the first sign that makes you take notice of something being not quite right.
This symptom is directly linked to vascular damage, correlating with cardiovascular function. Additionally, It may also indicate nerve damage. With erectile dysfunction and type 2 diabetes, blood flow becomes limited and the small blood vessels to the genitals are damaged. Constant high insulin levels can ‘burn’ out these tiny blood vessels, affecting the blood flow and therefore erectile function. Eyes, toes and fingers are other areas that contain these small blood vessels and will often show signs of damage.
2. Are the symptoms serious enough to visit the doctor?
It’s easy for many of the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes to be overlooked. Diabetes is a silent disease and quietly develops over an average of 10-13 years. Coupled with the reluctance of many men to visit the doctor, it may delay the diagnosis and allow the damage to progress unchecked.
However, if any of the above symptoms are present, it’s important to see the doctor for a health check.
Not all symptoms will appear in the same way for different people, so allowing your doctor to run a health check will help catch any changes early.
If erectile issues are present make sure you’re screened for cardiovascular disease, as it is an early indicator of this risk.
3. Get that annual health test to minimise your Type 2 diabetes risk
As much as you may want to avoid it, commit to an annual trip to the doctor for basic lab tests from the age of forty to prevent serious health issues such as type 2 diabetes.
This check-up should include a blood glucose test (HbA1c) which measures the average blood sugar levels in the blood over a 54 day period.
This test result may show pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes and determine what management if any, is needed.
4. Establish baseline results to know your risk
Establishing your baseline test results from your doctor’s visit, learning what they mean and tracking them as you age, will allow you and your doctor to spot any changes that may be heading in the wrong direction and most importantly, put you in charge of your own health.
Get the free guide we have of the various blood glucose tests and other general health tests to keep track of annually.
5. Reduce your risk factors for Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is predominantly a lifestyle disease and your risks increase with the following:
- Weight gain or obesity
- Weight distribution around the middle of your body
- Inactivity, lack of exercise
- Family history of diabetes
- Over 45 years of age
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Excess alcohol
- Poor sleep
Many of these risks (outside of genetics and age), can be decreased with lifestyle changes to help minimise Type 2 diabetes in men. See our Diabetes Clinic online programme for how we help men reduce their risks of developing pre-diabetes or managing Type 2 diabetes.
- Type 2 Diabetes is a disease known as a ‘silent killer’ because there are very few obvious symptoms, affecting men at a higher rate
- It takes 10-13 years on average to develop into a disease that is diagnosed
- Years and years of rising insulin levels and insulin resistance has been taking place before one is told ‘you have diabetes’ (or prediabetes)
- Visit your doctor for annual testing
- Establish baseline results and track them. Prevention is cure.
The good news is that there is an opportunity for men with erectile dysfunction and other diabetes symptoms to recover form Type 2 diabetes, with the right diabetes intervention with lifestyle strategies.
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease if left unattended, and medications can only provide ‘management’ of the disease. The better option is to first prevent the disease whilst secondly, changing lifestyle habits to reverse any damage that does progress.
Traditional treatments and advice are currently missing the mark for this outcome to be achieved and we encourage men to contact The Diabetes Clinic Online team to discuss the programme that works to continue a long life doing the things you love.
Book a free call below to discuss your health and concerns with Type 2 diabetes
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