What is diabetes?
Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is a metabolism disorder that affects millions of people. Diabetes is considered to be a metabolic disease, because it occurs when the body does not properly break down food in a way that your cells can absorb it. The food that we eat is broken down into a form of sugar which is known as glucose. When glucose is produced, it enters your bloodstream and is circulated to the cells throughout our body. In order for your cells to absorb glucose, insulin must be present. Your pancreas produces insulin and releases it into the blood stream to breakdown glucose so that it can enter the cells of your body. If the pancreas does not produce adequate insulin, or if the insulin does not work properly the glucose will not be able to be absorbed by your body’s cells. When this happens the glucose will accumulate in your blood stream and cause you to have (hyperglycemia) diabetes.
Who gets diabetes?
It is estimated that over 20 million Americans have diabetes. Roughly 50% of the people that have diabetes are men. There are two principal types of diabetes type 1diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1diabetes, which used to be called juvenile diabetes, occurs in children and adolescents. Those that have type 1 diabetes are unable to produce insulin. Type 1 diabetics need to take insulin so that their bodies can transfer glucose into their cells.
Signs of type1 diabetes in men
- Frequent urination
- Extreme thirst
- Numbness or tingling sensation in hands or feet
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Unexplained weight loss
Type 2 diabetes
The vast majority of diabetics have type 2 diabetes, which is sometimes referred to as adult onset diabetes. In America, it is estimated that 13 million or 20% of all men 20 years or older have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body is unable to use its insulin to breakdown glucose so that it can enter the cells. It is advisable for men that have early signs of diabetes to get a medical examination.
Signs of type 2 diabetes in men include:
- Frequent urination: Frequent urination occurs in diabetics because the body is trying to reduce extra blood sugar by excreting it in urine.
- Extreme thirst: Diabetics will often experience extreme thirst because the body counters the excessive urination by telling the body to dilute the blood, which causes the diabetic to be thirsty.
- Fatigue: Since the body is unable to process glucose it metabolizes fat for food and energy. This process requires the body to use extra energy, which results in the body being fatigued.
- Tingling in hands or feet: High glucose levels cause nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy,) which is the most common side effects of diabetes.
- Blurry vision: Prolonged high glucose levels can cause diabetics to experience blurry vision. This is a relatively common side effect of diabetes.
- Other side effects of diabetes are, infections of the bladder skin or gums, erectile dysfunction and slow healing cuts or bruises on the skin.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes in men
- Age: Men over 45 have a higher risk of getting diabetes.
- Weight: Overweight men are much more at risk to get diabetes than others.
- Family history: Genetics is a factor in who gets diabetes. If you have a father, mother brother or sister with diabetes your risk of getting the disease is higher.
- Race/Ethnicity: Men that are African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans have a higher risk of getting diabetes than Caucasians.
- Health problems such as high blood pressure, or high cholesterol can also increase your risk of getting diabetes.
Treatments for type 2 diabetes
It is critical for men with diabetes to maintain control of their glucose levels.
Steps for maintain proper blood sugar levels:
- Check your blood sugar on a regular basis
- Take your medicines exactly as prescribed
- Eat a healthy diet
- Get regular exercise
Diabetes is a serious life altering medical disorder that must be taken seriously. If left untreated its complications can result in blindness, amputations, severe nerve damage or even death. The good news is that with medical treatment and doctor recommended lifestyle changes, men with diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of complications and live a healthy lifestyle.