Diabetes is a medical condition that is characterized by an abnormal rise in the level of blood sugar or glucose due to an inability of the body cells to absorb and utilize glucose from the bloodstream. The body cells require a hormone, known as insulin to absorb glucose from the bloodstream, and insulin is produced by the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas. A shortage of insulin, as well as failure of the body cells to respond to insulin can manifest in the form of high blood sugar or hyperglycemia.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Men
Though diabetes can produce a number of symptoms, many of its early signs can look quite similar to the symptoms of certain other health conditions. This can make it difficult to recognize this condition. But it is important to identify and treat it early, as untreated diabetes can lead to some serious health complications. Knowledge about the symptoms of this condition is immensely important for preventing such complications. The symptoms in men are explained below.
Excessive Thirst and Urination
Excessive thirst and urination are considered as some of the most common symptoms. Both men and women can experience frequent urination or 'polyuria' and excessive thirst or 'polydipsia'. Frequent urination is caused by a high level of glucose, which adversely affects the filtering capacity of the kidneys. The kidneys start to draw more water from blood, as a result of which the affected person experiences an increase in the frequency of urination. Frequent urination causes the loss of excess fluid from the body or dehydration, which manifests in increased thirst.
Unusual Weight Loss and Fatigue
Unexplained weight loss can result due to the fact that the body cells fail to absorb and utilize glucose from the bloodstream effectively. The cells of the body need glucose to produce energy and so, an inability to absorb glucose can also result in unusual fatigue.
Increase in Appetite
Diabetic patients experience constant hunger or an increase in appetite, if the body produces a high level of insulin in an attempt to bring down the level of blood sugar. Presence of a high level of insulin in the body can increase hunger, for which some diabetic patients can start eating more. An increase in appetite can sometimes result in weight gain. However, some of the affected individuals could lose weight in spite of eating more than usual.
Nerves, especially the nerves of the peripheral nervous system can be damaged by consistently high levels of glucose. This is termed as diabetic neuropathy. Damage to the peripheral nervous system can manifest in tingling and numbness in legs, feet, hands and the fingers and toes.
Recurrent Infection and Slow Healing of Wounds
A high level of blood sugar can also slow down the healing of wounds. Along with this, some men can get recurrent infections. These two are considered as the warning signs of a high level of blood sugar.
Blurred vision or vision changes can be a common complaint among individuals with high blood sugar level. When the level of blood sugar is consistently high, sugar can accumulate in the lens of the eye and damage the blood vessels of the retina. This condition is known as diabetic retinopathy, which if left untreated can lead to blindness.
Diabetes and a high level of blood glucose can slowly damage the nerves and the blood vessels of the penis. This eventually can lead to erectile dysfunction.
Apart from the above mentioned symptoms, a few additional symptoms can be observed in some individuals. These symptoms include dry mouth, headaches, swollen, red and tender gums and development of dark skin patches on the neck, armpit, and the groin (acanthosis nigricans).
Diabetes can be caused by an insufficient production of insulin or due to the failure of the cells of the body to respond to insulin. It is mainly of two types, type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the shortage of insulin. The condition usually results from an autoimmune destruction of the insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas.
- Type 2 diabetes or insulin independent diabetes is associated with an inability of the body cells to utilize insulin effectively. Another type is gestational diabetes, which some women develop during pregnancy. Development of this condition can be influenced by a number of factors including genetics and environmental factors like obesity, sedentary lifestyle, age, polycystic ovarian syndrome, a poor diet and/or infections.
Diabetes is treated or managed with medications and lifestyle and dietary changes.
- Insulin is the conventional treatment option for type 1 diabetes.
- For type 2 diabetes treatment, medications like, sulfonylureas, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, biguanides, thiazolidinediones, D-phenylalanine derivatives can be recommended, along with insulin.
- One should follow a healthy diet that includes fiber-rich foods and fruits and vegetables, and exercise regularly, along with taking the medications recommended by the physician. At the same time, it is important to reduce the amount of sugary foods and animal fats in the diet.
Undiagnosed and untreated diabetes can lead to serious complications, so recognizing the symptoms is beneficial so you can opt for medical treatment right away.