Men & Diabetes: A Major Health Threat
Diabetes is the seventh-deadliest disease in the United States, and it has no cure. In the United States approximately 12.0 million or 11.2 percent of all men aged 20 years or older have diabetes. Overall, 5.7 million people have diabetes but donít know it. The costs: $174 billion of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2007 ($116 billion for direct medical costs and billion for indirect costs (disability, work loss, premature mortality). (Data from the 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet American Diabetes Association.)
Diabetes, especially if untreated and unmanaged, can lead to severe health problems like heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, amputation and nerve damage.
The majority of men with diabetes, especially older individuals, have Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, is a disorder that affects the way the body uses digested food for energy. Insulin, produced by the pancreas, is necessary for glucose to be used as fuel by your cells. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces enough insulin, but the body cannot use if effectively and cells in the body do not receive appropriate glucose. This causes increased glucose in the blood (increased blood sugar).
Risk factors for diabetes include:
- Obesity/overweight (BMI Chart )
- Over the age of 45
- Family history of diabetes
- Family background of African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic American/Latino, or Pacific Islander decent
- Blood pressure of 140/90 or higher, or hypertension
- HDL cholesterol of 35 or lower, or your triglyceride level is 250 or higher
- Sedentary lifestyle, exercise fewer than three times a week
Although genetic risk factors cannot be avoided, there are several lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce your risk factors for diabetes.
- Regular physical activity and a low-fat, high fiber diet are important measures you can take to reduce your risk factors.
The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes develop gradually and are often not readily noticed.
Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include:
- Feeling tired or ill
- Frequent urination
- Unusual thirst or hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Frequent infections
- Slow healing wounds or sores
You may have heard of a condition called 'Pre-diabetes'. Pre-diabetes is a condition where your blood sugar is elevated, but not yet high enough to be classified as diabetes. If you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes you can lower your risk of getting diabetes Type 2 and even return to normal blood sugar levels. By integrating moderate physical activity into your daily routine and with reasonable weight loss you can delay or prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Learn more about diabetes and HAP's CareTrack™ Program to help manage diabetes.