The Most Common Diabetes Symptoms in Men
Usually, men and women experience the same signs and symptoms regarding diabetes. However, specific symptoms are unique only in men.
Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder that happens due to an elevated blood glucose level when the body can’t produce insulin. An adult’s average blood glucose level should be 90-180 mg/dL. Any fluctuation in the range is suspected to be diabetes.
A 2019 study revealed that 77 million people in India live with diabetes. This figure will nearly double by 2045, making the nation secure the second-highest position in the world of diabetes. Another study states the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is 14.6% in men and 9.1% in women. The sample consisted of 705 men and 688 women, all aged 70.
Visceral fat is a stronger predictor of several lifestyle diseases. On the other hand, men had a higher mean BMI than women, with a more significant difference in mean visceral fat mass. Even though genes play a predominant role in this non-curable condition, other factors like sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits are also responsible for the increase in the disease. Considering smoking and other physical activity, men had approximately twice the odds of having type 2 diabetes compared to women.
Diabetes: How does it happen?
Diabetes is the body’s inability to process our primary source of energy, the chief component of our food, glucose. The pancreas is responsible for the production of insulin, which plays a significant part in utilising glucose for the body. So, when the process of producing insulin gets affected, glucose accumulates in the bloodstream and increases the blood sugar level. This condition is what we know as diabetes.
There are two types of Diabetes: Diabetes -Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder found in fewer people. A study shows that 9.5% of people have Diabetes Type 1, also known as Insulin-Dependent or Juvenile Diabetes. It occurs when the body’s immune system destroys the Beta cells of the pancreas and prevents the production of insulin. The main function of insulin is to make glucose available for cells to convert it into energy. Insulin is a hormone made from Beta cells making energy production difficult and glucose keeps flowing the bloodstream
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes or Non-insulin dependent / adult-onset diabetes is the most common type of diabetes globally. According to the CDC, it usually develops in people aged 45 or but it is possible that it may develop at a young age in some people. In this type of diabetes, the body produces inadequate insulin that doesn’t allow the glucose to enter the cells and utilise the stored energy. Hence, excess glucose is stored in the bloodstream, increasing blood sugar levels.
Besides these primary types, Gestational Diabetes happens in women during pregnancy.
Diabetes Symptoms in Men
Usually, men and women experience the same signs and symptoms regarding diabetes. However, specific symptoms are unique and noticeable only in men. These symptoms generally are problems related to their reproductive health. After a thorough study, we have arranged and annotated the 13 most common Diabetes symptoms in Men.
Low Testosterone Level
A study revealed that the level of testosterone hormone is directly responsible for Type 2 Diabetes in men. Testosterone, the hormone produced mainly in the testes, is usually low in men with diabetes. Low testosterone levels often lead to erectile dysfunction, causing mental health problems like depression. Other symptoms include low energy because of the lower availability of glucose to store in the muscles for energy generation. The combined effects of these problems give rise to a loss of sexual interest.
A study states that erectile dysfunction is one of the most common diabetes symptoms, especially for men below 45. In addition, 75% of men tend to experience erectile difficulties or impotence due to untreated diabetes for an extended period. If unchecked, it can obstruct the blood flow to the male reproductive system and even cause nerve damage.
Loss of Muscle Mass
Loss of muscles and reduced muscle strength could be one of the primary symptoms of diabetes in men. A study has reported that with uncontrolled blood sugar levels, for a long time, the body breaks down the fat-stored muscle to get the energy for day-to-day activities.
Retrograde ejaculation is another prominent diabetes symptom in men. When men’s blood sugar level is high, muscles in the urinary bladder don’t contract, resulting in ejaculation inside the bladder. A study shows the effect of diabetes behind this. It says that diabetes affects blood vessels in the bladder and the urethra, leading to retrograde ejaculation. That’s why men with diabetes release less semen.
Recurrent Genital Thrush
Genital thrush caused due to yeast infection occurs because of the high-level blood glucose level. These high sugar levels in the blood ultimately get released in the urine. The common signs of this condition include redness, swelling, or itchiness around the male reproductive organ and soreness during intercourse.
A study showed that men with diabetes have higher chances of developing periodontics, a gum disease that leads to tooth loss. Red, swollen and bleeding gums are another sign of diabetes in men, resulting from increased blood glucose levels.
Diabetes causes nerve damage in men, which results in urological issues. A study has reported that more than 50% of men with diabetes experience bladder and urine issues. This symptom is related to the urinary system that ultimately leads to
- Overactive Urinary Bladder: Nerve damage causing a sudden or frequent urination need.
- Inability to control urination: High sugar level affects bladder muscles, resulting in their inability to hold urine. Eventually, the muscles become relaxed, allowing the urine to leak or become more constricted, making it difficult to release it.
- Urinary Tract Infections: Diabetes makes men more prone to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Increased Thirst and Hunger
With the excess sugar level in the blood in men with diabetes, the body extracts more fluids from the cell, making the person feel thirstier. According to a study, sugar accumulation in the bloodstream pushes the kidney to filter and remove them via urine. As a result, it leads to dehydration, which means you need more water to quench your symptoms known as polydipsia. The symptom is known as polydipsia.
People with diabetes feel an insatiable hunger often because of their inability to produce energy from their blood sugar. The brain tricks you into thinking that you are not indulging in enough food and constantly drives you to eat, even after a meal and in medical terms this symptom is called polyphagia.
Men used to feel unusual fatigue or lethargy even performing their daily activities, which could be one of the common signs of diabetes. Since the cells have low energy, studies have proved that people with diabetes feel lazy and tired and become easily frustrated, without any specific reasons.
Unexpected Loss of Weight
Due to a diabetic condition, the many cells in your body will not be able to convert glucose into energy, resulting in a starvation state. The disorder forces the body to acquire energy stored in the muscles, which causes a significant weight loss in men.
A study shows that men who experienced weight loss of more than 5% within six months of intervention had a reduced risk of diabetes. In addition, the disease risk went down by 16% for every kilogram of weight lost.
Skin Infections and Slow Healing Wounds
According to a research study, the high blood sugar level affects men with skin infections, often making them more prone to yeast or fungal infection.
A study found that diabetes affects the body’s blood flow, making it more susceptible to wounds or cuts. In addition, limited blood circulation eventually slows down the healing process by stimulating the immunity power.
Tingling/Numbness in the Hands or Feet
Study shows most people with diabetes have an increased chance of developing peripheral diabetic neuropathy. It affects the nerves in their body and causes a tingling or numb feeling in the hands or feet. It is also one of the primary diabetes symptoms in men when there is less circulation from the heart, resulting in loss of pain in extreme situations.
Research has identified that diabetes can affect the lens and blood vessels of the eyes, leading to blurred or distorted vision. It is another main diabetes symptom in men; where the symptom is known as Diabetic Retinopathy and appears in a more advanced stage.
Excess amounts of sugar in the eyes’ blood vessels drain the fluid in the cells and tissues, causing damage to the eye’s vision.
Diabetes Symptoms in Men and Women
A study has found that 1 in 3 people don’t realise that they have diabetes and tend to ignore the symptoms.
The early signs of diabetes are common in both men and women. They are,
- Increased Hunger
- Excessive Thirst
- Frequent Urination or polyuria
- Extreme Fatigue
- Unexpected/Sudden Weight Loss
- Impaired wound healing
- Skin infections and numbness due to poor circulation and damage to blood vessels
If one does not address the symptoms with the help of a health practitioner, they can develop potential complications in the nervous or circulatory system.
Does Diabetes Affect Men Differently than Women?
Research shows that gender plays a critical role in diabetes, other than factors like diet. Irrespective of age and lifestyle differences, the number of men suffering from this condition is higher than women.
CDC’s 2020 National Diabetics Statistics report shows that men are 25% more prone to diabetes than women. However, 40% of men are not aware of this.
Studies have shown that men who have Type 2 Diabetes have low testosterone levels compared to men who don’t have one. Due to the reduced level of testosterone hormone, diabetes induces unhealthy signs in men otherwise not found in women.
Preventative Measures for Diabetes in Men
If your family has a history of diabetes or prediabetes, you are likely to develop the same, says a study. However, taking some precautionary steps will help you maintain your blood sugar level.
- Quit or Reduce Smoking
- Follow a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity
- Share a portion of protein, vitamins, and leafy vegetables on your plate
- Avoid excess sugar-containing food items (sodas, candies, carbonated drinks) to keep your diabetic-chances low.
- Consume carbohydrate-rich foods at a moderate level with sugary desserts once in a while
More than anything, keep a constant and consistent check on your blood sugar level to keep it under control and to keep diabetes at bay.
According to a recent report from WHO, diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions and the leading cause of disability worldwide. But unfortunately, the symptoms of diabetes can go unnoticed in its early stage since most people don’t understand them.
However, an early diagnosis will help you control your diabetic status before it causes a profound effect on your body, including the heart, eyes, blood vessels, kidneys, and nerves. Leading a healthy life with diabetes is still possible if detection happens early and is managed well. Remember, research has revealed that people with diabetes can reverse most of the symptoms of diabetes if they follow a suitable healthy diet that includes balanced and diabetic-friendly foods.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the early signs of diabetes in men?
A. A study reveals that symptoms of diabetes in men can vary depending on how elevated the glucose level is, i.e. either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes. Early signs such as weight loss, frequent urination, increased thirst, and fatigue can go unnoticed as they aren’t that apparent. The most common diabetes symptoms in men are related to their reproductive health, including erectile dysfunction, urological problems, and damage to the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).
Q. What are the three main signs of diabetes?
A. According to a study, the three significant signs of diabetes are
- Polyuria means frequent urination where the diabetic person produces more than 3 litres of urine in a day (Normal range – 1 -2 litres). It is because the body tries to eliminate the excess glucose through urine.
- Polydipsia describes excessive thirst, where the individual will feel intense thirst all the time or experience persistent dry mouth.
- Polyphagia refers to excessive hunger when people with diabetes feel a sudden or unexpected increase in appetite in a specific condition. It is because of the inability of the body to convert glucose to energy.
If it is Type 1 Diabetes, these symptoms will be highly noticeable and develop early, while in Type 2 Diabetes, the symptoms are less noticeable and develop at a slower rate.
Q. Can I test myself for diabetes?
A. Yes, you can test yourself for diabetes. Even though it is best to get checked under the guidance of an expert healthcare professional, you can also take a self-diagnostic test at your home. You can check your blood glucose level using a glucose meter kit following the guidelines. If you suspect the level is too high, you should consult with a professional immediately.
Q. What does diabetic urine look like?
A. A study revealed that urine’s colour, smell, and consistency help the doctors gauge their health status. Diabetes results in cloudy urine as there’s a high sugar or glucose level in the urine. Over time, diabetes might lead to chronic kidney disease, which causes the body to release the excess protein in the urine, resulting in a cloudy appearance of urine. Cloudy urine can also result from Urinary Tract Infections or dehydration.
It is advisable to consult a doctor if you are experiencing cloud urine along with other common signs of diabetes.
Q. How do you check for diabetes at home?
A. People with Diabetes are suggested to check their sugar level regularly to avoid potential complications and keep it under control. In such conditions, the Home Blood Glucose test is an efficient and affordable way to analyse their blood glucose level, especially in the early stages of diabetes. The typical steps of using Glucose Kit at home are.
- Wash and dry your hands
- Prick your finger with a lancet, a small and sharp needle.
- Put the drop of blood in the testing strip.
- Place the strip in the meter and record the blood sugar results.
Nonetheless, reading the monitor’s manual is essential since many glucose monitors work differently.
Q. What is the normal blood sugar level by age?
A. The average blood sugar level in individuals by age is:
- Children (6 or below): 80 to 200 mg/dL
- Kids (6 to 12): 80 -180 mg/dL
- Teens (13-19): 70 – 150 mg/dL
- Adults (20+): 100 – 180 mg/dL
Depending on your lifestyle, fasting/after meal status, sleeping habits, etc., you can modify these levels.
Q. What food causes diabetes?
A. A study showed that a person’s dietary choices might seem harmless at first, but they might be the underlying cause of developing diabetes. For example, consuming highly processed carbohydrates (white flour, white sugar, and white rice), sugar-sweetened drinks (sodas, sweet teas), saturated and trans fats (full-fat milk, cheese, butter), and processed meats and red meats can increase your risk of getting diabetes.
Q. Does drinking water help diabetes?
A. Research has reported a link between consumption of water and prevention of diabetes or the onset of Hyperglycaemia. Now people know how water aids in removing excess blood sugar from the blood in the presence of a hormone called Vasopressin.
Hence, staying hydrated is crucial for people with diabetes since even a low dehydration level can severely impact your blood sugar.
Q. Which Diabetes can go away?
A. Type 2 Diabetes is a life-threatening condition that can be easily managed or reversed when treated early. However, based on a recent report, Type 1 diabetes can’t go away, while Type 2 Diabetes can go away in some people. But this remission can happen only through standard lifestyle manipulation, including proper exercise, medications, and a healthy diet.
Q. Can diabetes be cured?
A. Diabetes has a massive impact on the global population, but there is no cure for this condition. Researchers are working on various studies to treat the disease in a completely innovative way in the future. There is also some growing evidence reported from studies that some lifestyle changes and sustainable behaviour can reverse the aspect of diabetes.
Q. Do people with diabetes smell?
A. Whether an individual is affected by Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, their breath smells like acetone, a fruity-smelling substance. A study revealed that it is due to a high concentration of ketones in their blood called Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), which causes hyperacidity in the body if not treated on time may prove life threatening.
Q. Is dry mouth a symptom of diabetes?
A. Yes, dry mouth, also known as Xerostomia, is a common and first noticeable symptom in people with diabetes. It happens when one doesn’t produce adequate saliva due to the side effects of medications.