Signs of Diabetes in Men
Did you know that men are more likely than women to get type 2 diabetes at a lower weight?
The CDC explains this statistical difference occurs because men tend to store weight in their bellies, a known risk factor (sorry ol’ Saint Nick).
But are diabetes symptoms in men the same as in women?
For the most part, signs of diabetes in men are similar to those in females. Frequent urination, blurred vision, and unintentional weight loss are common indicators to watch out for.
However, when considering the distinctions of diabetes symptoms men versus women, there are some key points to acknowledge.
We’ll go over the main signs that a male has diabetes below, but first, let’s cover our basics to understand this health issue better.
What is diabetes?
Currently uncurable, diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce any or enough insulin. It can also happen if we aren’t responding to insulin correctly, known as insulin resistance.
Why is this hormone, insulin, so incredibly important?
When we eat, much of the food we consume is broken down and absorbed by the blood as sugar (glucose). As our blood sugar levels increase, our pancreas is signaled to release insulin.
The hormone acts as a key allowing glucose into your cells to be utilized as energy, decreasing the sugar in your bloodstream.
But when our bodies aren’t producing or using insulin properly, the glucose stays in our bloodstream, meaning we have high blood sugar levels.
High blood sugar levels impact almost every aspect of one’s health.
It can lead to kidney and vision problems and make you more prone to infections while increasing your cardiovascular risk.
What kinds of diabetes are there?
Generally, we recognize type 1 and type 2 diabetes as the main forms of this chronic (long-lasting) condition.
Type 1 is more commonly diagnosed among children but can also be recognized later in life. On the other hand, type 2 is often diagnosed in adults and can be impacted by lifestyle factors, such as weight and physical activity.
Early signs of diabetes in men and women are often alike, and they include:
- Frequent need to pee (often during the night)
- Increased thirst
- Weight loss (even without trying)
- Extra hunger
- Blurred vision
- Tingly or numb feet
- Tingly or numb hands
- Dry skin
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections
While the above signs can emerge early, they can also take longer to appear, so be sure to contact a healthcare provider even if symptoms appear mild.
What is type 2 diabetes (and what’s the link to men)?
When we have type 2 diabetes, we have high blood sugar levels. The raised glucose levels occur because one’s body isn’t making enough insulin or isn’t using it correctly.
The CDC explains that 37 million Americans have diabetes. And of the 37 million, about 90 to 95% of the individuals have type 2.
What do the above stats have to do with males?
Firstly, men are twice more likely to get type 2 diabetes than their female counterparts.
Secondly, an article published in JCEM (The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism) reveals that men may be more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 than women due to visceral (hidden) fat.
The fat mentioned above is associated with the abdominal area, often stored deep within the belly and wrapped around organs.
The JCEM article notes that central obesity (abdominal fat) can be a greater risk factor for diabetes than simply being overweight.
And generally, men store fat in their bellies, while women’s fat is often dispersed throughout the buttocks, thighs, and hips.
Furthermore, an article published in NIH explains that females with obesity are more likely than males to be metabolically sound, meaning they can have lower blood glucose levels even if they weigh more.
Signs of diabetes in men
We know that diabetes symptoms men face are akin to those in women.
However, further complications can also occur from excess blood sugar levels, including dehydration, diabetic coma, and damage to the body (such as the nerves, kidneys, and heart).
So, where do men and women differ?
Early signs of diabetes in men include the usual suspects: a dry mouth and polyuria.
But, as we look closer, diabetes symptoms in men appear as:
- Retrograde ejaculation
While uncommon, retrograde ejaculation occurs when semen made in the testes goes backward instead of forwards. In other words, the semen releases into the bladder instead of the urethra (often causing less ejaculation as a noticeable symptom).
Retrograde ejaculation requires medical attention as it can cause infertility.
- Low testosterone
Type 2 diabetes symptoms in men include low testosterone. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), you’re twice as likely to experience decreased testosterone if you have type 2 diabetes than a male without.
However, the ADA clarifies that low testosterone levels regularly go undiagnosed.
Signs of low testosterone levels can be:
- Reduced interest in sex
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Decreased lean body mass
If you’re struggling with type 2 diabetes symptoms, such as diminished testosterone levels, reach out to a doctor right away.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
ED is a sexual dysfunction when a man isn’t able to get or maintain an erection. This uncomfortable sexual-health issue affects as many as 30 million males in the United States alone.
According to the CDC, males with diabetes are three times more likely to struggle with ED. These increased odds could be associated with blood flow problems caused by cardiovascular issues associated with diabetes.
Furthermore, an analysis of close to 150 studies found that over 50% of diabetic males have ED.
- Urological problems
A recently updated and medically reviewed article in Healthline explains that urological issues can occur in guys with diabetes because of nerve damage.
The urological problems caused by diabetic nerve damage can include:
- Inability to control urination
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Overactive bladder
- Automatic nervous system (ANS) damage
Diabetes can injure the automatic nervous system, leading to sexual problems. The ANS is crucial because it controls the constricting and widening of blood vessels.
And if the nerves and blood vessels in the penis are damaged by diabetes, erectile dysfunction can occur.
Sluggish blood flow to the penis is a typical cause of erectile dysfunction among males with diabetes.
If you experience symptoms of diabetes, book a physician’s appointment immediately.
Diabetes risk factors in men:
Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed young, and no conclusive risk factors are known. However, it’s believed to be an autoimmune disease, and genetics may play a role.
On the other hand, risk factors for type 2 diabetes are more easily recognized.
Certain factors can raise your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, such as:
- Age (being over 45)
- Being overweight (a BMI of 25 or over can put you at risk)
- Waist circumference of more than 40 inches
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Not enough physical activity
Can type 2 diabetes be cured or prevented?
Research continues, but at this time, there’s no cure or prevention for type 1 diabetes. There’s also no cure for type 2.
In contrast, according to the CDC, making changes, like losing weight, quitting smoking, and being more active, can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Altering your habits can be difficult to do alone, but you deserve success! Therefore, we suggest partnering up with a vetted Ravkoo Health and Wellness Coach for support.
To get started, access your Apple or Android app store to download Ravkoo Health.
Once the Ravkoo Health app is downloaded onto your mobile phone, enter your information to get started.
Next, access the Ravkoo Lifestyle module available on Ravkoo Health. You can book a remote consultation with a Health and Wellness Coach to discuss Diabetes Education.
Your Ravkoo Health and Wellness Coach can:
- Help identify risk factors.
- Explain what diabetes is and its complications.
- Do a specific evaluation to see how likely you are to develop diabetes.
- Guide you towards healthier choices (including exercise and diet).
- Be available for another Diabetes Education session should you want one.
The best part of teaming up with your Ravkoo Health and Wellness Coach is that you gain Lifestyle support from the privacy of your home.
This ailment continues to be a growing health issue facing Americans today, including kids. But men do appear to have a slightly higher chance of developing diabetes than women.
Knowledge is power if you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes. Do your best to recognize symptoms or risk factors and speak to a physician asap.
What’s the benefit of taking proactive measures? You may be able to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes while also improving your well-being. Seeking support from a trusted healthcare provider goes a long way to boost morale and education.
Lastly, if you’re confronting diabetes head-on, congratulate yourself! Taking the time to live a healthier life takes courage and dedication.