In addition to dealing with the day-to-day aspects of diabetes management that involve blood glucose, nutrition and lifestyle management, men in the United States with diabetes are also grappling with other physical, emotional and sexual health issues according to survey findings released today by the American Diabetes Association.
According to the research, only 30% of men surveyed claimed to know "a lot" about their disease and only one quarter (25%) of men with diabetes reported eating balanced and nutritious meals. Additionally, 60% of men felt that more information could help them better manage their disease, and 65% felt more information could help them have more useful conversations with their health care providers about their disease.
To respond to this need, the American Diabetes Association is launching a national educational campaign to provide men with diabetes -- and their spouses -- with information and resources to better manage their diabetes and the array of other health conditions that can be associated with this disease.
"The American Diabetes Association recognizes that there are many information needs for people with diabetes; this program is a major step toward filling in important gaps that specifically affect men. This campaign offers enhanced information and tools to help men better appreciate the importance of adopting a more comprehensive, or modern, approach to managing their diabetes," said Richard M. Bergenstal, M.D., Vice President, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association. "These survey results reinforce that there are many health issues associated with diabetes that men currently overlook or aren't even aware of -- from managing blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol to physical, emotional, and sexual health issues such as erectile dysfunction and low testosterone."
In an effort to bridge the communication gap between men with diabetes, their health care providers, and significant others, the American Diabetes Association has developed a campaign with a focus on challenging men to take charge of their own health. Featuring a variety of new resources specifically for men, the campaign includes The Modern Man's Guide to Living Well with Diabetes handbook, an enhanced men's health section on the American Diabetes Association Web site at diabetes.org/menshealth and a public service announcement (PSA).
"Men can take small steps that can have a big impact on their ability to better manage their diabetes," said Dr. Bergenstal. "Doing what they know, like staying active, sticking to a healthful diet, learning about increased risks for related conditions, and talking with a doctor if they are suffering from bothersome symptoms, is the key to managing diabetes today."
Of the nearly 24 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, 12 million are men. Many of these men are unaware that they are at an increased risk for complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, disease and amputation, as well as other conditions that affect their physical, sexual and emotional health. In fact, the survey showed that men with type 2 diabetes and the wives of such men are mostly unknowledgeable about low testosterone. With symptoms such as depressed mood, erectile dysfunction and fatigue, men with low testosterone may feel too frustrated, unmotivated or unaware to discuss disease-related complications with a doctor or loved one, further diminishing their ability to take a proactive approach to managing their disease.
Campaign Offers Support to Men with Diabetes
Committed to providing people with diabetes and their loved ones with the most comprehensive and up-to-date information, the updated American Diabetes Association men's health Web site (www.diabetes.org/menshealth) now offers enhanced resources to aid and empower men with diabetes who are seeking male-specific health information, including practical diet and exercise tips, information about sleep apnea and other conditions and information about physical, emotional and sexual health.
In addition to the availability of men's health-specific information online, the campaign will kick off a cross-country tour via its national Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes events this fall. As part of one of the country's largest series of charitable walks, 20 cities will feature a new Men's Health Corner booth where men and their spouses can speak with a health representative about a variety of men's health issues.
The Modern Man's Guide to Living Well with Diabetes handbook, a one-stop guide for men living with diabetes today, will also be available at the 20 Step Out events, on the enhanced men's health Web site and by calling 1-800-DIABETES. For more information about the campaign, its tools and how you can get involved in a Step Out event in your city, visit www.diabetes.org/menshealth.
About the Survey
The American Diabetes Association survey of 1,000 men with type 2 diabetes, age 40-60, and 1,000 female spouses of men with the disease assessed their knowledge of type 2 diabetes in general and its complications. The online survey also explored respondent's opinions about their overall quality of life and current approach to managing their disease. Results showed that men with type 2 diabetes know the proper things to do to better manage their condition, but are not doing them. Fewer than half of their wives think their spouses are actively engaging in activities such as physical exercise, reducing stress or maintaining a positive attitude that would help in the management of their type 2 diabetes. Results also found that the majority of men surveyed (79%) think a walking program in which the number of steps was recorded each day would be a beneficial tool to manage their condition.
Additional findings include:
- Men with type 2 diabetes were likely to get less enjoyment out of life, and say that the disease has negatively impacted their sex lives.
- These men also said they noticed a recent deterioration in their work performance.
- Six in 10 men say that knowing more would help them better manage their condition
- More than one-third of men surveyed are experiencing four or more symptoms associated with low testosterone, but surprisingly, 66% of this high-risk group admitted to knowing little -- if nothing at all -- about the condition.