Diabetes crisis is decimating men

21/11/17 . News

The growing diabetes crisis is quite literally decimating men with one in ten now affected. Men are more likely to develop the disease than women and more likely to experience life-changing or even life-ending consequences.

The Men’s Health Forum’s new report “One In Ten: The Male Diabetes Crisis” shows:

  • Men are 26% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than women – with Public Health England estimates showing that 9.6% of men have type 1 or type 2 diabetes vs. 7.6% of women. One man in 10 now has diabetes.
  • Men are more likely to be overweight (BMI 25+) and to develop diabetes at a lower BMI (body mass index) than women. However, they are less likely to be aware that they are overweight or to participate in weight management programmes.
  • Men are more likely to suffer from diabetic retinopathy, foot ulcers and to have a foot amputation. 69.6% of those presenting with a foot ulcer are men. Men are more than twice as likely to have a major amputation. Studies also show that the incidence of diabetic retinopathy is significantly higher amongst men.
  • Men are more likely to die, and to die prematurely, as a result of diabetes.The age-standardised mortality rate for men with an underlying cause of death as diabetes mellitus is 40% higher than it is for women.

The report highlights how the sex inequalities around diabetes have not been highlighted by health policy makers and practitioners and calls for better engagement of men in:

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

as well as more research to understand areas that are poorly understood - such as the higher rate of amputations amongst men.

The report argues that the National Diabetes Prevention Programme must be designed and delivered in ways that work for men.

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, said:

“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.”

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