Diabetes in men
Diabetes is a major problem that now affects 1 in 11 adults globally. Diabetes is a lifelong condition in which the body doesn’t produce or absorb insulin properly. While anyone can develop the condition, several symptoms are unique to men. The American Diabetes Association estimates17 percent of men in the US have diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is related to weight problems, inactive lifestyles, poor diet, coupled with hereditary factors. Type 2 diabetes is more often found in men age 35-54, where men are twice as likely to develop diabetes, with a significantly lower average BMI.
The condition can lead to several signs that are unique to men (erectile dysfunction, genital thrush, and loss of muscle mass). Many other signs of diabetes are common with those found in women. Here, we primarily look at diabetes signs & symptoms in men.
Diabetes and Testosterone link in men
The androgen hormone ‘testosterone’ is critical in male puberty, and stimulates the development of hair and muscles, vocal changes and genital development. This hormone is also important during the life span of a man, helping the creation of semen and maintenance of libido.
Studies have recently shown that there is a connection between this hormone and the development of type 2 diabetes in males, with lower testosterone levels leading to a higher risk.
Less known is the fact that testosterone is also involved in the deposition of fats. There are two distinct kinds of fat deposition, subcutaneous fat deposition, and visceral fat deposition. Type 2 diabetes correlates with an increased risk of visceral fat deposition. Research indicates that low testosterone levels in men may raise visceral fat deposition, resulting in increased type 2 diabetes. This fact is of concern as 1/6th of all men have low testosterone, which contributes to poor muscle formation, increased fat storage, and contributes to a dramatic increase in diabetes risk.
A 2016 study in BMJ Open discovered that men increase their chances of having diabetes after less relative weight gain than women are. Overweight men have a greater risk of getting diabetes vs. women.
This fact is because men tend to save more stomach fat, and this excess fat around the liver increases susceptibility to insulin resistance. Losing weight can make a massive difference in assisting you in reversing diabetes early. Therefore, if you have noticed any of those signs mentioned above of diabetes in men, you should get tested now.
Men ignore diabetes symptoms
Symptoms develop gradually and escape detection. One in three people does not recognize they have diabetes.
However, early diagnosis is vital for protecting vital health functions. Men often ignore symptoms and delay a physician’s visit much longer than women.
Research studies show men are more likely to get Type 2 diabetes than women. But this has not translated into men are more vigilant about early symptoms.
Men tend to ignore early signs of prediabetes or Type 2 Diabetes more than women do. Symptoms of prediabetes are ignored, as well. Early detection and lifestyle changes are key to easier and quicker prediabetes reversal.
Early signs of diabetes only in men
Let us take a look at the major signs and symptoms of diabetes in men.
1. Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in men is a common symptom of diabetes. (defined as an inability to have or maintain an erection). Men with diabetes are at a higher risk; 20 to 75% experience ED.
Small blood vessels and nerves into the genitals behave automatically (without conscious control) to increase blood circulation and relax smooth muscle. If the blood vessels and nerves have been damaged because of high blood glucose, it can result in erectile dysfunction.
It has been flagged by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDKK) as an early indication of diabetes in men 45 years and younger. If you encounter ED at a younger age, diabetes might be the cause, and worth getting checked out.
2. Genital thrush: Men may undergo repeated cases of a fungal yeast infection known as genital thrush. Excess sugar in the blood flows out of the urine. But, yeast thrives on sugar and is more likely to grow on the penis of a person with diabetes. Signs of genital thrush include redness, swelling, and itching around the head of the penis, discomfort during sex, and an unpleasant odor.
3. Reduced muscle mass: Consistently increased blood sugar levels may cause the body to break down fat and muscle for energy, especially in men with type 1 diabetes and effects in muscle fatigue.
4. Retrograde Ejaculation
This condition is another possible symptom of diabetes in men. In retrograde ejaculation, semen is discharged into the bladder. Consequently, less semen is released during ejaculation. This condition might also cause fertility issues. Similar to erectile dysfunction, retrograde ejaculation can result from possible nerve damage, which affects the control of semen motion within the body.
Diabetes symptoms in men common with women
Alongside male-only symptoms of diabetes, the overall signs of diabetes may occur in women and men of all ages.
5. Frequent urination
Going to the toilet frequently to urinate (polyuria) is the most frequent indication of high blood glucose.
Normally, the average person goes to the toilet four to seven times per day, and possibly once across the evening.
The urination varies depending on fluid and water intake, of course. Noting how much water you’re drinking and how often you’re urinating can be beneficial.
– Waking up multiple times during the night to go, or having to go tens of times each day, is a large red flag. However, frequent urination may just be a habit. Bladder and urinary problems can also arise from possible nerve damage.
Majority of men with diabetes experience these common problems:
– An Overactive Bladder: Nerves can compress the bladder, resulting in frequent urination, a sudden and strong feeling to urinate, or incontinence (leakage).
– Inability to Control Urine Flow: Diabetes can affect muscle control to hold urine in the bladder. As a result, the bladder muscles may become either loose or so tight they have difficulty releasing urine.
– Nerves controlling bladder control and function can be ruined by poor blood glucose control. This nerve malfunction, in turn, causes a sudden or frequent need to urinate, or incontinence.
6. Fatigued and Lethargic Feeling
If you feel fatigued and lethargy every day, that can be a sign of diabetes. You might feel lazy and tired constantly and become frustrated in the lack of energy.
If you don’t make enough insulin, energy can’t be used by the tissues of the body. This can make you feel fuller and lethargic than normal.
7. Excessive Thirst
Because the body has to eliminate excess sugar through the urine, you may feel particularly hungry. Drinking unusually large quantities of fluids, up to four liters per day, is a frequent symptom connected with excessive urination. Frequent urination contributes to dehydration, which is the reason you feel the need to consume more fluids. This may cause a vicious cycle: the more you drink, the more you urinate. With increased urination and fluid loss from excessive sugar, the body’s reaction is to increase thirst.
8. Severe Hunger
You may feel an insatiable appetite, even after the main meal, for both healthy and indulgent foods. This is because energy (sugar ) isn’t entering the cells, so your brain is tricked into believing that your body isn’t getting enough food. It always tells your body to consume, making a severe hunger that can’t be controlled. When energy or sugar can not enter the cells, your brain thinks you’re starving, making you feel hungry and crave sugar and calories.
9. Unintentional Weight Loss
An unintentional or unexpected weight loss of over 5 percent, or 10 pounds, in under six weeks could be an indication of diabetes. There are several possible reasons why you can lose weight quickly with diabetes, for example:
• You are losing plenty of calories and sugar through frequent urination.
• Sugar that isn’t converted to energy remains in the bloodstream, where the kidneys eliminate it.
• The body’s response to starvation is to utilize the protein inside muscles as energy. Thus muscle is broken down, resulting in significant and unfavorable weight reduction.
Free of sugar (energy) entering the cells, your body goes into starvation mode, breaking down muscles to offer energy. This contributes to unintentional weight and muscle loss.
10. Tingling in Hands or Feet
Since diabetes affects the nerves inside the body, a tingling feeling in the feet or hands may be an early indication.
This symptom is commonly worse at night, once the temperature drops. When the brain accomplishes coldness, numbness or tingling can result. Keeping warm at night can help.
Without early detection, this can result in a reduction of feeling in the extremities. This loss of feeling can be dangerous, as you might not have the ability to feel minor injuries. Elevated levels of sugar in the blood damage small nerves of the hands and feet, making a tingling or numb sensation. The nerves are slowest to fix on your extremities since they’re further away in the heart and get less circulation.
11. Slow Healing of wounds
Since high blood sugar can affect nerves and blood circulation, your body is going to have a harder time healing cuts or wounds. Your feet and hands are most susceptible because they receive less blood flow. With time, a great deal of sugar in the blood can affect blood circulation and nerves essential for the healing of cuts and wounds. Limited blood flow slows down the healing process.
12. Blurred Vision
The blood vessels of the eyes could be seriously affected by diabetes, resulting in blurred or distorted vision. Diabetic retinopathy is a significant effect of untreated diabetes. Fortunately, once blood glucose levels are controlled (within normal range), vision returns to normal. Excessive sugar brings fluid from the cells and tissues of the eyes, causing blurred or distorted vision. Vision may be restored when blood glucose levels return to normal.
Men face a higher risk of diabetes than women. They can experience a selection of special effects of the problem, such as erectile dysfunction and recurrent esophageal thrush. Diabetes can result in a range of dangerous complications. All men over age 45 years who are obese should get a blood test. Seek a consultation with a physician if these signs or symptoms occur. Over time, complications may develop as a result of long-term high blood glucose levels.