LIFESTYLE

Diabetes Causing 'Health Crisis' Among Men, With One In 10 Affected, Charity Warns

'We need urgent action.'

21/11/2017 12:21 GMT

Diabetes is “decimating men”, with one in 10 now affected, a report by a men’s health charity has warned.

The report, created by the Men’s Health Forum, highlights that men are 26% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women, which can potentially have life-changing or even life-ending consequences.

The researchers also found that men are more likely to be overweight than women (with a body mass index of 25+), which is known to raise the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, men are also more likely to develop diabetes at a lower BMI than women.

Despite this, men are less likely to be aware that they are overweight or to participate in weight management programmes.

In light of the findings, the charity has called on the National Diabetes Prevention Programme to be better designed and delivered in ways that work for men.

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Looking at NHS data, the research uncovered that the vast majority (69.6%) of diabetes patients presenting with a foot ulcer are men.

Furthermore, men were found to more be likely impacted by diabetic retinopathy - which can affect eyesight - than women.

Worryingly, the stats indicated men are also more than twice as likely to have a major amputation as a result of diabetes than women. 

Finally, the charity warned that men are more likely to suffer premature death as a result of diabetes than women.

The age-standardised mortality rate for men with an underlying cause of death as diabetes mellitus was found to be 40% higher than it is for women.

In light of the findings, the charity has called on health policy makers and practitioners to better engage men through:

  • NHS Health Checks
  • Routine eye tests
  • Weight management programmes
  • Diabetes education programmes

Martin Tod, chief executive of the Men’s Health Forum commented: “Men are more likely to get diabetes. More likely to suffer complications.  More likely to face amputation as a result of diabetes. And more likely to die from diabetes.

“Diabetes is hitting men especially hard, but too little is being done to understand the problem and tackle the problem. The Men’s Health Forum wants to see a serious programme of research and investment to ensure men get the support and care they need to prevent and manage diabetes.

“The toxic combination of ever more men being overweight, men getting diabetes at a lower BMI and health services that don’t work well enough for working age men is leading to a crisis. We need urgent action.”

Peter Baker, Men’s Health Forum associate and the report author, added: “Diabetes has been described as a national health emergency but the burden of the disease on men has not been fully recognised or responded to by health policymakers and practitioners.

“What’s now urgently needed is an approach that takes full account of sex and gender differences so that both men and women’s outcomes can be improved.”

In response to the report, Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England’s national clinical director for obesity and diabetes, told The Telegraph: “Men are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes with a lack of exercise, poor diet and being overweight all risk factors to developing type 2 over time.

“Across the majority of England people at high risk can now get help on the NHS’s diabetes prevention programme, which is seeing almost as many men attend as women - a much higher proportion than usually seen in weight loss programmes.”

Diabetes Facts