Diabetes: What is it?
Know the Facts
When you eat foods like bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, milk and fruit, your body gets energy by turning the food into glucose. In order to use this glucose, your body needs insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body achieve the right level of glucose in your blood. Type 2 diabetes is when the body does not produce enough insulin or when it does not properly use the insulin it makes. With type 2 diabetes, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being used for energy.
Complications of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can cause complications such as blindness, heart disease, kidney problems, nerve damage, and erectile dysfunction. Fortunately, men who take steps to manage their diabetes can often prevent or delay these problems.
Who is at Risk?
Know the Risk Factors
There is no single cause for type 2 diabetes. However, some factors increase your risk.
- Being over 40
- Being overweight, especially around the middle
- Having high blood pressure
- Having high cholesterol or other fats in the blood
Aboriginal people have a dramatically higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with other Canadians. As well, men who are of Hispanic, Asian, South Asian or African descent are at higher risk.
What Should You Watch Out For?
Watch for These Things
Many men who have type 2 diabetes do not experience any symptoms. Sometimes for men to find out they have type 2 diabetes is when they see a doctor for an unrelated reason.
However, there are some signs to watch for with type 2 diabetes. See a doctor if you are noticing:
- Frequent urination
- Unusual thirst
- Unexplained weight loss
What Can You Do?
Talk to a Doctor
If you are concerned that you may be at risk for diabetes or have noticed any of the signs mentioned above, speak to a doctor right away.
It’s All About Lifestyle
To prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, as well as to manage it once it develops, one of the most important areas that men can focus on is lifestyle.
- Be physically active
- Achieve a healthy weight and maintain it
- Cut down on fats and sugar
- Do not smoke
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure
If you develop type 2 diabetes, your doctor may prescribe medication in addition to recommending lifestyle changes. To manage type 2 diabetes, it is often necessary to work hard at sticking to a healthy eating plan and increasing your physical activity.