By 2030, the number of Singapore residents above 40 with diabetes is projected to increase by another 200,000 from about 400,000 today.
The prevalence of diabetes among adults increased from 8.2% in 2004 to 11.3% in 2010. A higher proportion of men were diabetic (12.3%) compared with women (10.4%). We can imagine how the number would have increased even more by today.
For men living with type 2 diabetes, they are also at higher risk for certain conditions as compared to other men. In this article I will share more about unique mens health issues faced by men with type 2 diabetes.
1. Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
According to a study published in Journal of Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, men with diabetes are much more likely to experience Erectile Dysfunction than men who don’t have diabetes. High blood glucose causes damage to small blood vessels and/or nerves like the ones that supply the penis. Hence poorly controlled diabetes contributes to Erectile Dsyfunction.
Other than sugar control, there are also some diabetic medicines that causes side effects like ED which adds on to the problem.
Other than diabetes, these men are usually also obese and suffering from hypertension, both of which also adds on to the risk for ED.
2. Urinary Tract Infection:
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is usually caused by bacteria. It can affect any part of the urinary tract. Anywhere including the kidneys, bladder, ureters, urethra, and, in men, the prostate gland. Most of the time the infection is in the bladder. Women are 10 times more likely to get a UTI as compared to men. However men with diabetes are at a higher risk of getting UTIs than men without diabetes.
Why are men with diabetes more prone to UTIs? There are a few possible reasons. One, men with diabetes have poor circulation. This reduces the ability of white blood cells to travel in the body and fight off any kind of infection. Two, high glucose levels can also raise the risk of a UTI. Three, some men with diabetes have poor ability to empty their bladders. What happens is, urine stays in the bladder for too long and this becomes conducive for bacteria to grow.
Balanitis is an infection of the skin on the head (glans) of the penis. In uncircumcised men, this area is covered by the foreskin, or prepuce. Balanitis can occur in both circumcised and uncircumcised men, however, uncircumcised men are at higher risk for balanitis and also recurrent infections.
Any man can develop balanitis, but the condition is most likely to occur in men who have phimosis (tight foreskin) or poor hygiene. Other than this group of men, men with diabetes are also at high risk of balanitis especially if they have poor sugar control. When sugar is poorly controlled, excess sugar may be exreted in the urine. This sugar rich urine when trapped underneath the foreskin, will provide a conducive environment for yeast and bacteria. On top of that, men with poorly controlled diabetes is also unable to fight of infections effectively. Read: What are the Causes of Balanitis
Posthitis is inflammation of the foreskin It is characterized by swelling or redness of the foreskin. In some cases, it may happen together with tears on the foreskin which may be quite painful. It is usually caused by an infection like fungus or bacteria. In some cases, it might be due to tears in the skin due to abrasion or friction during intercourse. The selling may lead to phimosis and tightness of the foreskin which makes it difficult for the skin to retract.
Circumcision is usually a definite treatment for men who has recurrent balanitis posthitis or UTI. It is a very effective treatment to reduce the risk of UTIs, balanitis and also there won’t be anymore posthitis when the foreskin is removed.
5. Low Testosterone
In the past few years, scientists have found some connection between low testosterone and diabetes. One study showed that in 2,100 men over age 45, the odds of having low testosterone were 2.1 times higher in men with diabetes. Low testosterone doesn’t cause diabetes but it might be the other way around. Men with diabetes might develop low testosterone. Read Andropause
A link between diabetes and low testosterone is well established. Men with diabetes are more likely to have low testosterone while men with low testosterone are more likely to develop diabetes as well. Testosterone improves the body’s ability to take up sugae in response to insulin. Men with low testosterone may have insulin resistance. In this condition, their body need to produce more insulin in order to reduce the same amount of sugar in the blood.
All in All
So if you happen to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, do keep a look out for some of the issues mentioned above. If you happen to have any of the above conditions, do consider health screening as any of the condtions might be an indication of diabetes. Do consult your doctor if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and conditions.