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Diabetes: Signs & Symptoms in Men

Type 2 diabetes, once known as non-insulin dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes, affecting 90% to 95% of the 13 million men with diabetes.

Unlike people with type 1 diabetes, people suffering from type 2 diabetes produce insulin; however, the insulin that their pancreas secretes is either not sufficient or the body is not able to recognize the insulin and utilize it properly. This is called insulin resistance. When there isn’t sufficient insulin or the insulin is not used as it should be, glucose can’t get into the body’s cells to be used as fuel. When sugar (glucose) builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, the body’s cells can not be able to function properly. Other associated problems with the accumulation of sugar in the blood include:

a. Dehydration. The accumulation of sugar in the blood can cause an increase in urination (to try to clear the sugar from the body). When the kidneys pass the sugar through the urine, an increased amount of water is also lost, causing dehydration.

b. Diabetic coma. When a person with type 2 diabetes becomes extremely dehydrated and is not able to drink enough fluids to make up for the fluid losses, they may result in this life-threatening complication.

c. Damage to the body. Over time, high glucose levels in the blood may damage the nerves and tiny blood vessels of the eyes, kidneys, and heart and make a person susceptible to atherosclerosis (hardening) of the large arteries that may cause heart attack and stroke.

Who Gets Type 2 Diabetes?

Anyone may get type 2 diabetes. However, people at highest risk for the disease are those who are obese or overweight, people with family history of having type 2 diabetes and people who have metabolic syndrome (a group of problems that include high cholesterol, high triglycerides, low good HDL cholesterol and a high bad LDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure). In addition, older people are more prone to developing the disease since aging makes the body less tolerant of sugars.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes in Both Men and Women

The signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes vary from person to person but some of the common symptoms both in men and women may include:

1. Increased thirst and hunger

2. Nausea and occasionally vomiting

3. Frequent urination

4. Dry mouth

5. Fatigue (weak and tiredness)

6. Blurred vision

7. Weight loss or weight gain

8. Numbness or tingling sensation in hands or feet

9. Frequent skin infections or urinary tract infections

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes in Men

1. Erectile dysfunction (impotence)

2. Retrograde ejaculation

3. Low testosterone levels

4. Decreased libido and sexual dysfunction

What are the Risk Factors for Diabetes in Men?

Gender is the main risk factor for diabetes, and men are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than women.

Other risk factors for both men and women for developing diabetes include:

1. Obesity

2. Family history (first degree relative with diabetes)

3. Fat distribution (more fat around the middle waist)

4. High blood pressure

5. High cholesterol levels

6. Sedentary lifestyle (lack of exercise and/or no physical activity)

7. Smoking

8. Excess alcohol intake

9. Lack of sleep

10. Low testosterone levels in men

11. An unhealthy diet with high-calorie content containing sugars and lacking beneficial nutrients to boost overall wellness.

How is Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosed?

If your physician suspects type 2 diabetes, he or she will first check for abnormalities in their blood and go for lab investigations (high blood sugar levels). In addition, he or she may check for sugar or ketone bodies in your urine.

Tests used to diagnose type 2 diabetes include a Fasting Blood Glucose Test, Hemoglobin A1C Test, Random Blood Glucose Test, Oral Glucose Tolerance Test.

Written by MedPlus