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Focus on diabetes prevention and care

By Spalding Today Columnist

This year's Men's Health Week (11-17 June) will focus on men and diabetes.

The fact is men are more likely to get diabetes and more likely to suffer complications as a result of diabetes. In addition, they are also more likely to face amputation as a result of diabetes. And men are more likely to die from diabetes.

One man in ten in the UK now has diabetes and in middle-aged men, we expect the disease to increase sharply in frequency over the next 20 years.

Given the inequality between men and women in terms of diabetes, we must all urgently pay more attention to engaging men in diabetes prevention, early diagnosis and improving care and treatment.

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high. Type 1 diabetes is where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is where the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don't react to insulin.

Many more people have blood sugar levels above the norm, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes, which is sometimes known as pre-diabetes.

If your blood sugar level is above the normal range, your risk of developing full-blown diabetes is increased. So it is very important for diabetes to be diagnosed as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if left untreated.

The symptoms to look out for include:

*Feeling very thirsty

* Urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night

* Feeling very tired

* Weight loss and loss and muscle bulk

* Itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush

* Cuts or wounds that heal slowly

* Blurred vision

About ten per cent of adults with diabetes will have type 1 diabetes, which can develop very quickly over weeks or even days, whereas many people have type 2 diabetes for years without realising because the symptoms tend to be general.

Having said that men are more likely to get diabetes, it is important for both men and women to look out for the symptoms.

People diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will require insulin injections for the rest of their life, whilst as type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, medication may eventually be required.

A healthy diet and keeping active are the best ways to minimise the risk of diabetes (type 2), as both will help to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, as well as helping you to control your weight and generally feel better.

Around 80 percent of type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented by making simple lifestyle changes and there is a wealth of information available. It is also worth considering getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked.


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