According to several researchers, Diabetes mellitus (DM) especially type 2 category have been found to be prevalent in men than in women. It is believed that this may be due to the assumption that men may be less sensitive to insulin than women regardless of BMI and secondly, fat distribution in men is usually around organs like liver while women have their fats deposited majorly under the skin.
What is Diabetes Mellitus?
This is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by high level of sugar in the blood (hyperglycemia. It is called a metabolic disorder because metabolism refers to how the body breaks down food and utilizes it for growth and energy.
What are the Types of Diabetes Mellitus?
There are basically 3 categories of the disease.
- Type 1 or Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus also known as juvenile onset DM. In this case, the pancreas is not producing enough insulin. The reason for this deficiency remains unknown. This usually occurs in teenagers and younger people below the age of 40. Only about 10% of diabetic cases fall under this category. People with Type 1 diabetes will have to live on insulin for the rest of their lives
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus otherwise called non-insulin dependent DM or adult onset DM is common in older ages above 40. In this case, the body is resistant to the insulin being produced. Diet and excess weight is largely associated with this category of the disease and accounts for almost 90% of DM cases. Statistics have shown that men aged 35 – 54 are twice likely to develop Type 2 DM than women especially those with central obesity (belly fat). Type 2 Dm can be controlled largely by dietary adjustments and weight reduction.
- Gestational diabetes occurs only in pregnant women with no previous history of DM and it resolves after child birth. For the purpose of this write-up, we will not be focusing on this category of DM
What are the Common Symptoms?
When we eat, the food ingested is broken down majorly into glucose which is a form of sugar and the primary source of fuel for the body) and absorbed into the blood stream for distribution, but the cells need insulin to be able to utilize the glucose in the blood for energy. The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin but in Diabetes mellitus, there is either failure to produce enough insulin by the pancreas or failure of cells in responding to the insulin produced. As a result of the accumulated glucose in the blood, the body tries to compensate for this by excreting it in the urine (Glucosuria). To eliminate glucose, excess water is being lost (Polyuria) and this makes the individual thirsty (Polydipsia). Because the cells cannot take up glucose from the blood, the body’s demand for energy stimulates hunger in the individual (Polyphagia) and the person experiences weakness. The body then uses up the fat and protein stores it has thereby producing excess ketone bodies (Ketoacidosis). This causes hyperventilation, loss of sodium, potassium, chloride and water from the system.
Other presenting signs and symptoms of DM include:
- Blurred vision
- Numbness and tingling sensation in the extremities
Asides the classical signs of Diabetes mellitus which are polyuria, polydipsia and polyphagia, other laboratory tests that could help establish or confirm diagnosis are through the following tests;
- Random Blood glucose
- Glucose tolerance test
- Fasting blood glucose
- Post prandial blood glucose
Life style changes are largely important in preventing or managing DM. This includes a healthy diet and regular exercise. Management of DM can be basically classified into 3 methods namely
- Dietary control. Moderate amount of calories should be taken and simple sugars should be avoided e.g. sugar, cake, ice-cream etc
- Diet and oral tablets
- Diet and Insulin
Some Complications associated with Diabetes Mellitus includes;
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Diabetic gangrene
- Diabetic glumerulosclerosis
Men ‘develop diabetes more easily’.(n.d.). http://www.nhs.uk/news/2011/10October/Pages/males-more-likely-to-get-diabetes.aspx
Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments. (n.d.). http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/diabetes
Common diseases that affect men. (n.d.). http://www.askmen.com/sports/health_60/71b_mens_health.html
Middle aged men twice as likely to have Diabetes as women. (2009, July 13). https://www.diabetes.org.uk/About_us/News_Landing_Page/Middle-aged-men-twice-as-likely-to-have-diabetes-as-women/