June 16, 2021

The Editor speaks: Diabetes

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On Tuesday 14th (Nov) World Diabetes Day is marked. I do not say ‘celebrated’ as it is nothing to celebrate if you have diabetes.

I do not understand why the spotlight is on women. This year’s theme is “Women and diabetes – Our right to a healthy future”.

Cayman Islands Minister for Health, Dwayne Seymour, in his message to mark the day acknowledges diabetes is widespread amongst men in our community, but never-the-less he is “pleased to have the spotlight shone on women for this particular occasion”.

He points out that “Women with diabetes have more difficulty conceiving and may have poor pregnancy outcomes. Without pre-conception planning, type 1 and type 2 diabetes can result in a significantly higher risk of maternal and child mortality and morbidity.

“One in seven births is affected by gestational diabetes (GDM), a severe and neglected threat to maternal and child health. Many women with gestational diabetes experience pregnancy related complications including high blood pressure, large birth-weight babies and obstructed labour. A significant number of women with GDM also go on to develop type 2 diabetes, resulting in further healthcare complications and costs.”

Whilst men don’t have the problem of delivering babies with the added risk of birth problems they have many sexual issues with diabetes.

The biggest cause of sexual issues for men is nerve and artery damage in the genital area, which disrupts blood flow and can cause erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is known to occur in over one-half of men who’ve had diabetes for 10 years.

Studies have shown that men with erectile dysfunction and diabetes are also more likely to have heart disease, because the risk factors for erectile dysfunction are the same as for coronary artery disease. “The same problems that lead to decreased blood flow in the arteries in the penis, lead to blockages in the arteries of the heart,” Dr. Snow says.

Other sexual health issues can include:

Decreased libido – often stemming from depression or low levels of testosterone

Premature/delayed ejaculation

SOURCE: http://www.joslin.org/info/diabetes_and_sexual_health_in_men_understanding_the_connection.html

I am not trying to downplay diabetes in women as being inferior to men. I am querying the need to spotlight a particular sex. The spotlight should be on the disease and how it affects both women and men.

More than 100 million people worldwide have Type 2 diabetes, and in many parts of the world, men have higher rates of the condition than women. A recent study from the University of Glasgow in Scotland suggests a possible explanation for this: Men may be “biologically more susceptible” to the condition.

According to lead study author Naveed Sattar, MD, PhD, “Previous research has indicated that middle-aged men are at a higher risk of developing diabetes than women and one possible explanation is that men have to gain less weight than women to develop the condition. In other words, men appear to be at higher risk for diabetes.”

Whether you are female or male do take heed of Minister Seymour’s message: “….all residents, women and men, are encouraged to be proactive and take advantage of the many health checks that are offered on the islands through health fairs and other community related activities.

“I am pleased to say there will be free health screenings on Tuesday, 14 November between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the atrium of the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town.”

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