One In Ten: The Male Diabetes Crisis

The growing diabetes crisis is quite literally decimating men with one in ten now affected.

The diabetes crisis is decimating men

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.

Amputations and complications

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 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

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

A toxic combination

Martin Tod, Chief Executive of the Men’s Health Forum said:

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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The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.

We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.

Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.