Tuesday, May 28, 2019

June is Men’s Health Month, and men historically are not as comfortable when it comes to discussing issues about their health, especially conditions like diabetes.

This discomfort has resulted in shorter and less healthy lives for men in the U.S. compared to women.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) found that the No. 1 reason men don’t talk about or take better care of their health is fear of receiving bad news, according to the diabetes experts they asked.

“In general, men don’t like to hear that they are sick because they don’t want to show vulnerability,” an article by the ADA reads on diabetesstopshere.org. “When it comes to men and diabetes management specifically, our experts say that the main barriers to good health are lack of understanding and education of the disease, as well as fear of having to change their current lifestyle.”

If unmanaged, diabetes can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, damage to the blood vessels of the eye, nerve damage and kidney damage. The death rate from heart disease is much higher for men with diabetes than it is for men who don’t have diabetes, and the amputation rates from diabetes-related problems are 1.4 to 2.7 times higher in men than in women.

Many diabetic men also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, a breathing disorder in which the airway is blocked when the mouth and throat relax during sleep, often for more than 10 seconds, according to the ADA.  Men have a higher risk for obstructive sleep apnea than women do, and it can increase a man’s risk for high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke if left untreated.

“According to our experts, there are many things men can do to take better care of their diabetes and general health,” the ADA article reads, listing:

  • Find a health care provider you can trust, someone who you can have an open discussion with. Norman Regional has a network of primary care physicians in south central Oklahoma. You can call 405-515-5000 to schedule an appointment.
  • Try to increase your level of physical activity and modify your eating habits and portion control.
  • Comply with your doctor’s appointments. Regular professional care is crucial for keeping your diabetes management on track.

This Men’s Health Month, all men who have or who are at risk for diabetes should get active and know their numbers!

Prediabetes: Education & Prevention

Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to be aware if you have prediabetes.

Prediabetes is when your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

More than one out of three American adults, 84.1 million, have prediabetes. Nine out of 10 people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. Take this risk assessment to find out if you may have prediabetes. 

Prediabetes increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

If you have prediabetes, losing weight by eating healthy and being more active can cut your risk of getting type 2 diabetes in half.

Ignoring prediabetes increases your chance of type 2 diabetes, as well as other health complications including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and loss of toes, feet or legs.

You can prevent type 2 diabetes! Way to prevent diabetes, include:

  1. Find out if you have prediabetes by visiting your doctor to get your blood sugar tested
  2. Eat healthy
  3. Be more active
  4. Lose weight

The Norman Regional Diabetes Education Center also offers a Diabetes Prevention Program. Norman Regional's Diabetes Education Center has been recognized as a Center of Excellence through the American Diabetes Association since August 2003. The center expanded its services in 2013 to include prevention by becoming a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) diabetes prevention recognized program. The Diabetes Prevention Program is a lifestyle change program for individuals at high risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Aside from prevention, the Diabetes Education Center also offers classes, free monthly health and wellness seminars, counseling, insulin pump training, support groups and more. The center's goal is to "empower patients through increased knowledge and understanding."

To find out more about what the Diabetes Education Center has to offer, call 405-307-5730 or visit their website