type 2 diabetes
Sadly, Diabetes is now affecting more than 100 million people worldwide. In the US alone, 26 million people, or 8% of the population, have diabetes. And the fastest growing demographic affected by Type 2 diabetes is men.
First, let’s take a look at what diabetes is: diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body can't control blood glucose levels properly. Ideally, the digestive tract breaks down food into glucose (sugar). Once absorbed, it is then released into the blood. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, signals the cells to absorb the glucose from the bloodstream and use it for energy. Type 1 diabetes generally shows up in childhood, and is caused when the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells. In Type 2 diabetes, high blood glucose is generally caused by insulin resistance, (where the body does not use insulin efficiently), and insufficient insulin secretion by the pancreas.
The risk factors associated with developing Type 2 diabetes in one’s adult life are: being overweight or obese, storing fat in the abdomen (as opposed to in the hips or thighs), a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and red meat, and being physically inactive. So why are men at an increased level of attaining diabetes?
According to a recent study, one possible explanation is that men have to gain less weight than women to develop the condition. Women have a tendency to store more subcutaneous fat (under the skin) around their hips and thighs, while men tend to store fat in their abdomen. In this sense, women would need to gain more weight to develop Type 2 diabetes than men. Studies also show that the average BMI (Body Mass Index) for men at the time of diagnosis was 31.83 as opposed to the female’s higher BMI at 33.69
But there is hope! Making some simple changes can help, such as becoming active (even just start walking for 30-40 minutes a day) and eating a diet full of fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein, low sugar and whole grains, getting enough rest, drinking water.