One man in 10 now has diabetes and in middle-aged men the disease is expected to increase sharply in frequency over the next 20 years.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which your body cannot produce enough insulin, cannot use insulin, or a mix of both. In diabetes, sugar levels in the blood go up. This can cause complications if left uncontrolled.
The two types of diabetes are – Type 1 where people’s body do not produce insulin caused by an auto immune reaction, where the immune system attacks the cells producing insulin in the pancreas and is often diagnosed in younger age, and Type 2 diabetes is where the body often develops a resistance to insulin, i.e the body still produces it, but the body has an inability to react to it. Most of the increase in diabetes in the last 20 years is of Type 2.
Early symptoms of diabetes are often undetected because they may not seem that serious. Some of the mildest early diabetes symptoms include:
- frequent urination
- unusual fatigue
- blurred vision
- weight loss, even without dieting
- tingling or numbness in hands and feet
The potential health consequences are often serious. Diabetes raises the risk of cardiovascular disease and can cause problems with your eyes, skin, kidneys, and nervous system (including nerve damage, or neuropathy). Diabetes can also cause erectile dysfunction (ED) and other urological problems in men such as inability to control urination, and urinary tract infections.
Fortunately, many of these complications are preventable or treatable with awareness and attention to your health.
Risk Factors in Men
Many factors can increase your risk for experiencing complications from diabetes, including:
- being overweight
- avoiding physical activity
- having high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- being older than 40
Quitting or reducing smoking, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight are all highly effective ways to prevent the onset of diabetes.
Certain lifestyle choices can greatly impact your physical and mental well-being if you have diabetes:
- Balancing your meals with an even mixture of starches, fruits and veggies, fats and proteins can improve your bodily health and delay the onset of diabetes symptoms.
- Avoid excess sugar, especially in carbonated drinks like soda and sweets.
- Keep a regular exercise schedule and manage your blood sugar within your exercise regimen. This can allow you to get the full benefits of a workout without feeling shaky, tired, dizzy, or anxious.
A recent review article in the World Journal of Diabetes looked at studies about Type 2 diabetes and exercise. The review found physical activity is one of the best treatments to control Type 2 diabetes. Exercise can reduce blood pressure, improve glucose tolerance, and reduce too-high blood sugar levels.
An increasing number of people with diabetes are turning to yoga in an effort to keep their condition under control and improve overall quality of life.
It is well known that regular practice of yoga can help reduce levels of stress, enhance mobility, lower blood pressure and improve overall well-being.
Stress increases the secretion of glucagon, a hormone responsible for increasing blood glucose levels in the body. Stress also has the effect of elevating cortisol, which in part is responsible for increasing blood pressure. Therefore controlling mental stress (stress management) is one of the keys of diabetes treatment.
Yoga is considered to be a cost-effective option in the treatment and prevention of diabetes, with data from several studies suggesting that breathing techniques, meditation and body postures in yoga and other mindfulness-based programmes, train participants to invoke a relaxation response. This improves our sense of well being and reduces stress-related hyperglycemia and has a positive effect on blood glucose control and therefore the complications such as heart disease.
When you connect healthy eating with breathing and movement, you integrate the body and mind to bring a sense of stability and balance to the whole person.