Diabetes is undoubtedly a severe condition with no definitive cure. The burden of diabetes, fueled by unhealthy lifestyles, is rapidly increasing in developing economies like India. To make things worse, recent studies show that diabetic prevalence will grow as the total number of diabetic patients is projected to rise from 171 million in 2000 to 366 million in 2030. Talking about gender demographics, the prevalence of diabetes is higher in men as compared to women.
Most diabetes symptoms in men and women are similar. However, for men, diabetic symptoms are also observed as poor sexual proficiency. Diabetes has a critical impact on sexual abilities, among other side effects.
In this blog, we will discuss in detail the diabetes symptoms in men and the risk factors associated with the disease. But first, let’s learn about the different types of diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
Diabetes generally has two types:
- Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic illness sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. The pancreas produces little or no insulin in this situation. Insulin is a hormone that the body utilises to let glucose (sugar) into cells, which helps make energy whenever the body requires it.
- Type 2 Diabetes
A disorder in the body’s ability to control and utilise sugar (glucose) as fuel is type 2 diabetes. This chronic (long-term) condition causes the bloodstream to circulate with an excessive amount of sugar. Over time, cardiovascular, neurological, and immune system issues might result from excessive blood sugar levels.
None of these conditions is ideal for your body as both have different effects. And what is even more critical is how even after years of continuous research and development by medical science, there is no cure for diabetes yet.
Most Common Diabetes Symptoms in Men
Diabetes symptoms in men are mostly detected on a sexual level. Men with diabetes have 3x more complications and difficulties having and maintaining an erection.
Here are some common symptoms that are only observed in men with diabetes:
- Low level of testosterone: Low testosterone levels can result in diminished sex desire, sadness, fatigue, and loss of muscular mass. Additionally, it may lead to urological and sexual issues.
- Impotence (Erectile Dysfunction): Diabetes in males frequently manifests as the inability to get or sustain an erection. Compared to other men, diabetic men suffer erectile dysfunction quite early. The continuous inability to get an erection that is firm enough for penetration and/or a strong erection that lasts long enough to complete sexual activity is called erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence.
- Retrograde ejaculation: Semen enters the bladder during orgasm rather than escaping from the penis, resulting in retrograde ejaculation. Being diabetic, the patient would ejaculate very little or no semen even after experiencing a sexual climax.
Diabetic Risk Factors for Men
Diabetes symptoms in men are often associated with the following risk factors:
- Family history (first-degree relative with diabetes)
- Increased fat levels
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Lack of exercise
- Excess alcohol intake
- Unhealthy sleep cycle or lack of sleep.
- Low levels of sex hormones, i.e., low levels of testosterone in men
- High-calorie, high-sugar diet that is deficient in important nutrients and contains sugar
Long-term Health Complications of Diabetes
With time, Type 1 diabetes affects multiple vital organs of the body, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys. It affects all the major organs you need to survive and live a healthy life.
If not taken seriously, diabetes can lead to severe life-threatening complications such as –
- Kidney damage
The groups of small blood vessels or the millions of glomeruli of the kidney filter waste from your blood. This sensitive filtration mechanism can be seriously harmed by diabetes.
- Heart and blood vessel damage
Diabetes significantly raises the risk of cardiovascular issues, such as coronary artery disease with chest discomfort (angina), heart attacks, strokes, and arterial constriction (atherosclerosis).
- Eye damage
Diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy, which can damage the retina’s blood vessels and result in blindness.
- Mouth and skin conditions
Diabetes can make you highly prone to bacterial and fungal infections, among other skin issues.
- Neurotherapy (Nerve Damage)
The walls of the tiny blood arteries (capillaries) that feed your nerves can get damaged by too much sugar, especially in your legs.
Diabetes has a critical impact on men, especially their sexual life. As the adage goes – Prevention is better than cure, especially when it’s a serious health condition like diabetes. Therefore, we recommend frequent check-ups to monitor your health. If you, or anyone you know, experience any of the diabetic symptoms mentioned above, you must immediately adopt preventive measures before the condition becomes severe.