Signs and Complications of Diabetes in Men

A 2016 study shows that men are at higher risk of developing diabetic symptoms than women soon after relative weight gain. In this study, at least 480,000 men were analyzed. Waist circumference which is the leading indicator of health risks was measured. Men with diabetes type 2 were found to have a 9cm larger diameter than those who did not have the disease.

Understanding Diabetes

When the body fails to control the levels of blood glucose properly, the complication occurs. Type 1 diabetes occurs in childhood, usually triggered by the attack of the insulin-producing cells within the pancreas. When the tissues resist the effects of insulin, type 2 diabetes occurs. Here, blood sugar levels are bound to rise, and for many reasons a reversal is critical.

Understand that high sugar levels in your blood can damage the blood vessels and the nerve which can then result in kidney disease, heart disease, gum infections, blindness, and stroke. Research shows that the topmost cause for the symptoms of type 2 diabetes in males is obesity. With time, the excess weight that mostly forms in the middle in men begins to make cells in the liver, muscles, and fat tissue less responsive to insulin.

Symptoms in Men

The signs and symptoms of diabetes in both women and men are similar, but there are some unique or more noticeable in males. Men experiencing the following early symptoms should see a doctor for medical advice and early treatment to prevent the development of health complications:

  • Itching around the penis
  • Reduced strength due to the loss of muscle mass
  • Thrush episodes around the genitals
  • Erectile dysfunction

Although type 1 symptoms in men are more pronounced, they are the same as those of type 2. Other general noticeable signs of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in men and women are as follows:

  • Dehydration
  • Frequent urination
  • Damage to body organs including kidneys and heart attack
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision

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Prediabetes Symptoms in Men

Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels rise than normal, but the person does not have diabetes. However, it is a risk factor for the development of diabetes. With a poor lifestyle, men in this group have high chances of developing early signs of diabetes. Understand that progression from a prediabetes state to the occurrence of diabetes symptoms in men is not inevitable. You must practice routine exercises, eat right, and maintain a healthy weight to get your blood glucose under control. Prediabetes normally has no signs and symptoms. Possible symptoms showing you might be at risk would include:

  • An urge to urinate more
  • A heightened level of thirst
  • Darkened skin on particular parts of the body such as armpits, knees, and knuckles

Men who begin to develop symptoms such as fatigue and blurred vision may have graduated from prediabetes to diabetes type 2.

The Complications

When left untreated, this condition exposes you to high risk of many serious health problems, some of which are life-threatening. With type 2 diabetes mellitus, failing to work hard to stabilize your blood glucose can quickly result in short-term or long-term complications. Watching your meal plan, taking medications as prescribed and exercising are some of the habits diabetics must keep in check to prevent the occurrence of the complications.

Short-term complications include: 

  • Hypoglycemia (very low blood glucose)
  • Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS) – Very high blood glucose

Long-term complications include:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Kidney disease (nephropathy)
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Macrovascular problems

By keeping your blood glucose levels controlled, long-term complications can be avoided. High blood glucose can quickly damage the blood vessels leading to microvascular (tiny blood vessels) and macrovascular (large blood vessels) complications.

In type 2 diabetes, both men and women can already present symptoms of nerve damage after a diagnosis. At this point, getting blood glucose in control can prevent further damage. People who fail to have their blood glucose managed are likely to lose sensation in their feet. Some of the signs and symptoms of uncontrolled high blood sugar in men’s feet include:

  • Tingling or numbness
  • Skin discoloration
  • Blisters
  • Pain
  • Temperature changes
  • Red steaks

One major problem with diabetic peripheral neuropathy in the feet is that it is hardly noticed. Left untreated, this wound then spreads and develops an infection. It means the foot may need to be amputated to halt the spread of the infection. If you do not have easy access to a podiatrist, have your doctor examine your feet regularly.

What are the Risk Factors?

Gender is a major risk factor, and men are more likely to show the symptoms of prediabetes earlier. Although the symptoms of diabetes can develop at any age, the risk of prediabetes increases in men over 50. Other risk factors include:

  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Ethnicity (prevalent in Hispanic, African American, and Asian men)
  • High cholesterol
  • Too much fat around the middle
  • Smoking
  • Excess alcohol intake
  • Low testosterone in men
  • Unhealthy diet

How to Reverse the Disease

Diabetes can take an enormous toll on your health, doubling the risk of stroke and heart attack. It accelerates the damage of the cardiovascular system, kidney problems, eyes and nerve tissues, cancer risk, and promotes aging. With this, your first line of defense against the prevalence of the symptoms is working towards reversing diabetes.

Signs of diabetes in men mostly present themselves after a sedentary lifestyle. This is because diabetes is a lifestyle disease. The choices of food you choose can promote or prevent insulin resistance. Note that the primary cause of the symptoms of male diabetes is the parallel increase in obesity. The good news is; if you are able to get your HbA1c below 42 mmol/mol that’s 6 percent, then you have a good chance of reversing the disease.

The vegan and ketogenic diets have been proven to aid in diabetes reversal. Keto is a low-carb high-fat diet with moderate proteins, while vegan excludes all animal proteins. Studies show that both diets reduce the risk of diabetes type 2. Because they can both benefit your health and help in reversing diabetes, following a vegan keto diet should be your priority. Follow this up with enough exercise and fruits. Because most fruits have sugar, it is vital that you eat only fruits recommended for people with diabetes.

Fasting Helps Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

According to science, fasting plays a crucial role in reversing the symptoms of diabetes in men. Intermittent fasting involves cycles between eating and taking a break from food. The 16:8 is the most common type involving a 16 hours fasting period. This type reduces the eating window to 8 hours. Other forms involve fasting for 2 hours each week, 24 hours, and daily fasting.  

When the body gets into a fasting mode, fat is broken down and used as a source of energy. Using fat as a source of energy can, in the long run, result in weight loss. This then leads to better control of blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure. If you have diabetes, include foods that have a lower glycemic index before you begin your fast. However, ensure you monitor your blood glucose levels to avoid having a very low drop. In case you develop the symptoms of hypo such as sweating and shaking, break your fast immediately.