The diabetes health crisis in men

Men are more likely to get diabetes than their female counterparts, more likely to suffer from complications such as leg amputation and more likely to die from the condition.

Did you know that?

  • One in 10 men in the UK have diabetes. [1]
  • In middle-aged men diabetes is expected to increase sharply in frequency over the next 20 years. [2]
  • Men are 26% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than women – with Public Health England estimates showing that 9.6% of men have type 1 or type 2 diabetes vs. 7.6% of women. [3]
  • Men are more likely to suffer from diabetic retinopathy, foot ulcers and to have a foot amputation. 69.6% of those presenting with a foot ulcer are men. Men are more than twice as likely to have a major amputation. Studies also show that the incidence of diabetic retinopathy is significantly higher amongst men. [4]
  • Men are more likely to die, and to die prematurely, as a result of diabetes. The age-standardised mortality rate for men with an underlying cause of death as diabetes mellitus is 40% higher than it is for women. [5]

 Symptoms of diabetes: [6] 

  • Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night.
  • Being really thirsty.
  • Feeling more tired than usual.
  • Losing weight without trying to.
  • Genital itching.
  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal.
  • Blurred vision.

Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over the course of weeks or even days. However, many people can have type 2 diabetes for years without being diagnosed as the symptoms tend to be general. [7]

Diabetes management

The Men’s Health Forum state: “The sex inequalities in diabetes have not been fully recognised by health policymakers or practitioners. More attention must urgently be paid to engaging men in diabetes prevention, early diagnosis and improving care and treatment delivery.” [8]

Food

The type of food you eat can affect your blood sugar levels in different ways, therefore when you are diagnosed with diabetes monitoring your food intake is vital. Carbohydrates can have a big impact on blood sugar levels and affect those taking doses of insulin. Learn what portion sizes are appropriate for each food type, make meals well-balanced and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.

Exercise

Physical activity plays an important part in diabetes management as regular exercise helps your body use insulin more efficiently. Your doctor can help to determine an appropriate exercise plan for you and discuss what your blood sugar levels need to be at before working out.

Know your numbers

Utilising a blood glucose monitor can help to manage diabetes. Testing your blood before and after a meal can demonstrate how blood sugar levels can fluctuate, it will also help provide an indication of any insulin dosage decisions. Recording your blood sugar levels can help you draw conclusions on what foods are best for your levels, how exercise affects them and dosage decision for those taking insulin.

In the UK 3.5 million people are estimated to have been diagnosed with diabetes. However, it is estimated that there are over 1.1 million people living with diabetes in the UK who have not been diagnosed. [9] It is important to raise awareness of diabetes and the potential health risks of the disease, if you would like to do so within your company then offering Wellbeing Events can deliver a high-profile health promotion event focused on a specific wellbeing topic such as diabetes. Providing Lifestyle Assessment Days can give employees an overview on their health now and what lifestyle changes need to be made to become healthier. Your Wellness Hub provides three appointment formats for Lifestyle Assessments all of which contain blood glucose checks: 10-minute MOT Check, 15-minute Health Check and 20-minute Lifestyle Check.

If you are interested in providing Wellbeing Events or Lifestyle Assessment Days to your employees, please contact Your Wellness Hub on info@yourwellnesshub.co.uk.

References:

[1] Men’s Health Forum – One in Ten: The Male Diabetes Crisis

[2] Men’s Health Forum – One in Ten: The Male Diabetes Crisis

[3] Men’s Health Forum – One in Ten: The Male Diabetes Crisis

[4] Men’s Health Forum – One in Ten: The Male Diabetes Crisis

[5] Men’s Health Forum – One in Ten: The Male Diabetes Crisis

[6] Diabetes UK – https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/diabetes-symptoms

[7] NHS Inform – https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/diabetes/diabetes

[8] Men’s Health Forum – One in Ten: The Male Diabetes Crisis https://shop.menshealthforum.org.uk/products/one-in-ten-the-male-diabetes-crisis?_ga=2.37731872.184244786.1528710193-1092168300.1525865633

[9] Diabetes UK – Facts and Stats https://diabetes-resources-production.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/diabetes-storage/migration/pdf/DiabetesUK_Facts_Stats_Oct16.pdf