Men’s Health Week, celebrated annually during the week ending on Father’s Day honors the importance of the health and wellness of boys and men. Father’s Day was chosen as the anchor to make use of the extra attention paid to male family members near that holiday. Men’s Health Week provides an opportunity to educate the public about what can be done to improve the state of men’s health while providing free and convenient health services to boys and men who wouldn’t otherwise receive such care.
Mens Health Week was created by The Mens Health Forum, The EMHF aims to improve the health of men and boys by:
• Improving the delivery of health services to men, including primary care and health promotion information
• Increasing the awareness of health professionals of men’s health issues and their ability to work effectively with male patients and men generally
• Enhancing men’s awareness of their own health and their treatment options
• Accelerating research into the health needs of men across Europe.
Focussing on a different topic every year, Mens Health Week aims to raise awareness of common issues when it comes to male wellbeing. 2018 is all about diabetes, and the risk factors associated with being male.
As part of Mens Health Week, we outline the risks, warning signs and ways to prevent the onset of diabetes to further raise awareness here in Plymouth.
According to Mens Health Week, it is estimated that 4.5 million people are now living with diabetes in the UK. 3.5 million of these have been diagnosed and one million are so far undiagnosed. In the past 20 years, the number of people with diabetes has more than doubled and, on average, around 7—more cases are diagnosed every day.
Diabetes has been described by Diabetes UK and others as an epidemic and a national health emergency with profound consequences for the individuals and families affected, communities, workplaces and the health and social care system.
As well as developing better treatment and care for those affected, effective prevention and early diagnosis are also of vital importance.
Diabetes is a disease in which your body Diabetes is a disease in which your body cannot produce enough insulin, cannot use insulin, or a mix of both. In diabetes, sugar levels in the blood go up. This can cause complications if left uncontrolled.
There are two main conditions associated with diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 means that your body cannot produce insulin at all, whereas Type 2 means that you can- your body just doesn’t necessarily know how to utilise it properly.
The potential health consequences are often serious. Diabetes raises the risk of cardiovascular disease and can cause problems with your eyes, skin, kidneys, and nervous system. Diabetes can also cause erectile dysfunction (ED) and other urological problems in men.
Fortunately, many of these complications are preventable or treatable with awareness and attention to your health.
Early symptoms of diabetes are often undetected because they may not seem that serious. Some of the mildest early diabetes symptoms include:
• Frequent urination
• Unusual fatigue
• Blurred vision
• Unexplained, increased thirst
• Weight loss, even without dieting
• Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
If you allow diabetes to go untreated in these early stages, complications can occur. These complications include issues with your skin, eyes, and nerves (including nerve damage, or neuropathy).
Symptoms in Men:
• Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. It can be a symptom of many health issues, including high blood pressure, stress, smoking, medication, kidney disease, and circulatory or nervous system conditions.
• Urological/bladder issues
Urologic issues can occur in men with diabetes due to diabetic nerve damage. These include an overactive bladder, inability to control urination, and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Talking frankly with your doctor about ED and other sexual or urologic complications is essential. Simple blood tests can help diagnose diabetes. Investigating the cause of your ED can also help you discover other undiagnosed problems.
The two main risk factors for diabetes in men are weight gain and prolonged inactivity. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
The prevention methods seem obvious, and they are! Of course they aren’t fail safe as certain risk factors include genes and family history, but ensuring you get at least 30 minutes physical activity a day can not only decrease your risk of Type 2 diabetes, but greatly improve your overall health.
To keep your weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.
If you have any health worries, directed towards diabetes or not- it is extremely important to raise your concerns with your GP. Mens Health Week’s ultimate goal is to raise awareness of mens health so you have to do your bit too!