Archive for June, 2014

Diabetes in Men Often Goes Under the Radar

Men are more than twice as likely to have undiagnosed diabetes as women, despite the fact that their overall risk for diabetes is similar.

That’s one of the messages of a new campaign by the American Diabetes Association to raise health awareness among men when it comes to conditions like diabetes, sexual dysfunction, and sleep apnea as the Association celebrates Men’s Health Month this June.

“When it comes to men and diabetes management, the main barriers to good health are often a lack of understanding and education of the disease, as well as a fear of having to change their current lifestyle,” said Robert E. Ratner, MD, FACP, FACE, Chief Scientific & Medical Officer, American Diabetes Association.

“During Men’s Health Month, the American Diabetes Association is encouraging all men to get out, get active, and get informed to help Stop Diabetes®.”

Nearly 1 in 8 American men has diabetes, and 1 in 3 has pre-diabetes.

The complications of diabetes are well known and serious, and those risk factors can be significantly controlled through control of the ABCs: A1C (as a measure of glucose control), blood pressure, and cholesterol, particularly low-density lipoprotein.

The health risks for men with diabetes who smoke are even greater than the risks for men who don’t have diabetes, so smoking cessation is even more important.

Studies show an increased risk for heart disease for men both with and without diabetes.

An easy-to-implement diabetes screening score for undiagnosed diabetes, defined as fasting plasma glucose level of 7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dL) or greater without known diabetes, developed from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, has been demonstrated to be an improvement over existing methods.

Historically, men are not as comfortable as women when it comes to discussing health issues, which can result in shorter and less healthy lives for men in the US compared to women, says the Association.


Being male also means being more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Cross-sectional studies have documented the co-occurrence of OSA with glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

OSA is linked to an increased risk for diabetes and can also make diabetes harder to control.

Studies show that sleep apnea increases the risk of developing diabetes, independent of other risk factors.

Among patients with more severe sleep apnea, regular positive airway pressure use may attenuate this risk.


In addition, diabetes can often have sexual implications for males, including erectile dysfunction.

However, there are many steps men can do to take better care of their diabetes and general health.

The Association recommends finding a family doctor the patient can trust and to discussion health issues.

In addition, the Association recommends enlisting a friend or family member to help the patient adopt healthy behaviors, such as an exercise partner, to increase the level of physical activity and modify eating habits and portion control.

Also, the Association notes that regular professional care is crucial for keeping diabetes management on track.