There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 (juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes) and the most common form, Type 2 (called adult-onset or sugar diabetes and once known as non-insulin dependent diabetes). Type 2 diabetes affects 90-95% of the 13 million men diagnosed with diabetes.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes and What are the Symptoms in Men?
Type 2 diabetes is usually caused by poor diet and lifestyle. It occurs when (1) the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into the cells, and (2) when the cells respond poorly to insulin and take in less sugar. Consuming too much sugar and refined carbohydrates, lack of exercise and being overweight can contribute to having an increased risk. We all know that too much of delicious southern cuisine combined with lack of exercise can be harmful to our body!
The risk for Type 2 diabetes usually increases with age and can take years to present its signs. Symptoms vary from person to person but may include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- Dry mouth leading which causes bad breath
- Slow healing wounds
- Loss of weight without even trying
- Decreased sex drive
- Premature ejaculation
- Difficulty getting and maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Yeast Infection (genital thrush): unpleasant odor, soreness during sex, redness, swelling or itching on or around the head of the penis
How Do I Support My Diabetic Spouse or Partner?
Diabetes can be challenging in a relationship, however, understanding is key. Here are several ways that couples can cope with it. First and foremost:
- Take a genuine interest in learning about your partner’s diabetes
- Make helpful suggestions such as healthy meal plans
- Discuss your feelings
- Discuss any problems with your sex life openly and honestly together
- Be prepared for mood changes
- Don’t encourage or support bad eating habits or behaviors, such as lying to your spouse or partner’s doctor about his/her poor food choices
There are many available resources to learning about diabetes and your spouse or partner’s doctor may be able to shed light on some of those resources for you.
A diabetes diagnosis is not the end of the world. Medication may be prescribed, or a healthy lifestyle change with regular exercise and diet (a complete balance of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and small amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates) may be suggested.
Remember that being proactive is vital!