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Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes in Men: Exploring Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes


Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how the body processes glucose, a type of sugar that is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. Diabetes symptoms in men can sometimes be different than in women. Here are some of the early signs and symptoms of diabetes that are more common or unique to men.

Key Takeaways: Early Diabetes Symptoms in Men

  • Diabetes affects how the body processes blood sugar. Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels lead to complications.
  • Men have a higher risk of developing diabetes than women. Around 13.8-17% of men in the U.S. have diabetes.
  • Common early symptoms of diabetes in men include frequent urination/thirst, blurry vision, infections, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, increased hunger, weight loss, slow wound healing, and tingling hands/feet.
  • Risk factors like being over 45, overweight, sedentary lifestyle, family history, and race raise diabetes risk in men.
  • Diabetes complications include cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, eye damage, nerve damage, foot ulcers, skin problems, and sexual dysfunction.
  • Keeping blood sugars controlled through medication, diet, exercise, glucose monitoring and healthy lifestyle habits helps prevent complications.
  • Recognizing prediabetes allows men to make lifestyle changes to avoid developing diabetes or delay onset.

Increased Thirst and Urination

One of the most common early signs of diabetes is increased thirst (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria). This occurs when excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream. The kidneys respond by flushing out the extra glucose through urine, which takes fluids with it and can lead to dehydration and thirst.

Increased urination and thirst can affect anyone with diabetes, but it often occurs more frequently at night in men. This can cause disrupted sleep as men wake up several times during the night to urinate. Frequent urination interrupts sleep and can leave men feeling tired during the day.

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision is another common symptom of elevated blood sugar levels in diabetes. High levels of glucose in the blood can cause fluid to be pulled from the lenses of the eyes, changing their shape and leading to temporary vision changes.

Blurred vision tends to come on gradually and be temporary at first. If high blood sugar persists, it can permanently damage the blood vessels and nerves of the eyes and lead to more serious vision complications. Men with diabetes have a 40% higher risk of blindness than women with diabetes.

Recurrent Infections

High blood glucose provides a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Men with diabetes often have trouble with recurring infections, especially yeast infections like genital thrush. The candida fungus thrives on the excess sugar.

Genital itching, redness, pain, and other irritation can signal a yeast infection. Men with frequent bouts of balanitis or thrush should get their blood sugar tested.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common complications of diabetes in men. It is estimated that 50%-75% of men with diabetes will develop ED due to nerve damage and impaired blood circulation.

Erection problems, also called erectile dysfunction or ED, are common in men with diabetes. Especially those with type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar over a long period of time can damage the nerves and blood vessels. This damage causes problems with getting or keeping an erection firm enough for sex.

Diabetes damages the blood vessels and nerves needed to get and maintain an erection. Men with diabetes tend to develop ED 10-15 years earlier than men without diabetes. The risk increases with age and duration of diabetes.

Loss of Muscle Mass

Over time, the high blood sugar levels of uncontrolled diabetes can cause muscle loss and reduced muscle strength in men. The body burns through muscle tissue to provide energy when it cannot get enough from dietary sugars.

This leads to loss of lean muscle mass. Weakness, fatigue, weight loss, and feeling discouraged about lack of strength for sports or exercise can occur. Maintaining muscle mass gets harder with age, and diabetes accelerates loss of muscle tone and mass.

Skin Changes

Diabetes can manifest in the skin in several ways. Bacterial and fungal infections can occur more often, especially in warm, moist folds of the skin. Warm, moist areas like the groin are prone to yeast infections and rashes from skin irritation.

The skin may become dry and itchy due to dehydration and improper nerve signaling. When nerves are damaged, you may have decreased sensation and not feel that your skin is dry or cracked, leading to cuts and sores.

Small blood vessels get damaged, reducing circulation to the skin’s surface. This slows healing of any wounds or openings in the skin, including cuts, blisters, sores, and scrapes.

Gum Disease and Other Oral Problems

Diabetes reduces circulation and the body’s resistance to bacteria in the gums. Men with diabetes are at higher risk for gingivitis and periodontal diseases. Gum disease is linked to damage of blood vessels.

Oral thrush also occurs more often due to the high sugar levels. Men may notice gum pain or swelling, loose teeth, bad breath, or white patches in the mouth. Seeing your dentist for cleanings and checkups is highly recommended.


Feeling very tired and lethargic is common in diabetes. The fatigue does not get better with rest and extra sleep. Insulin moves glucose from the blood into the cells to be used for energy.

When insulin is low or the body cannot use it effectively, glucose cannot get into the cells. This leaves the cells without enough energy source, which leads to sluggishness and an overall run-down feeling.

Increased Hunger

Increased hunger, called polyphagia in diabetes, often occurs because the body cannot access glucose properly for energy. This leads to feelings of extreme hunger as the body tries to get fuel to provide energy.

Eating more food does not help relieve the hunger. Weight loss from muscle breakdown often occurs at the same time due to the lack of usable glucose for the cells’ normal energy processes. However, if you want to make sure your muscles are builiding strong. Use Mestinon to improve muscle strength and tone. Mestinon is mostly prescribed for people with myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disorder.

Unexplained Weight Loss

Sudden and unexplained weight loss is another sign of possible diabetes, though not as common in men as in women with diabetes. Insulin helps glucose get into cells to provide the body energy.

When insulin is low, glucose accumulates in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy. The body starts burning fat and muscle for energy, causing weight loss. Losing weight without trying should be checked out.

Slow Wound Healing

Elevated blood glucose levels interfere with normal immune system function and circulation, making healing slower. Cuts and scrapes can turn into open wounds that won’t heal.

This opens the door to infections. Persistent sores, blisters, or lesions that do not heal quickly with normal care should be evaluated, especially on the feet where wound healing is already slower.

Tingling Hands and Feet

Damage to the peripheral nervous system from diabetes can lead to tingling and numbness in the hands and feet. This is due to nerve damage from high blood sugar levels.

You may feel like you are wearing gloves and socks even though you aren’t. The hands and feet tingle or feel like they “fell asleep.” Symptoms are usually worse at night. It starts in the fingers and toes, then spreads.


Getting up too quickly from sitting or lying down can lead to dizziness and lightheadedness. This occurs because high blood glucose levels affect the ability to properly regulate blood pressure and blood circulation when quickly changing position.

Tracking episodes of dizziness and lightheadedness when standing up and reporting them to your doctor is important to address any underlying cardiac issues.

In Summary

Some of the most common early symptoms of diabetes that men should watch for include:

  • Frequent urination and thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Recurrent skin and genital infections
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Increased hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Tingling in hands and feet

Paying attention to symptoms and getting prompt medical care is important for preventing diabetes complications. If caught early, diabetes can often be managed through lifestyle adjustments like diet, exercise, and stress relief. Monitoring blood sugar levels daily and following doctor’s instructions are key to managing diabetes.

Risk Factors for Diabetes in Men

While diabetes affects both men and women, men face a higher risk of developing diabetes during their lifetime. There are several reasons why men are more prone to diabetes. Understanding the risk factors can help men be proactive about prevention and early detection of diabetes.


The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age, especially after age 45. The American Diabetes Association recommends diabetes screening starting at age 45 for people without other risk factors. This is because the body becomes less tolerant of sugars and less responsive to insulin with aging. By age 70, one in four men have diabetes.

Overweight and Obesity

Carrying excess weight significantly raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in men. Belly fat appears to be an important factor, with abdominal obesity putting men at higher risk. Even being moderately overweight increases the chances of diabetes. Losing weight can help prevent and reverse diabetes.

Race and Ethnicity

Certain racial and ethnic groups have a higher risk of diabetes, including African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Genetics, poor access to care, and lifestyle factors contribute to the increased rates among minorities.

Family History

Having a close family member (parent or sibling) with diabetes raises your risk. Genetics and shared environment/lifestyle habits contribute to type 2 diabetes risk. If diabetes runs in your family, talk to your doctor about steps to reduce your risk.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Being inactive increases the odds of developing type 2 diabetes. Exercise helps control blood glucose and insulin levels. Men who get regular aerobic exercise and strength training have a significantly lower risk of diabetes. Even light activity like walking regularly helps.

Unhealthy Diet

A diet high in processed carbohydrates, sugary foods and beverages, and red and processed meat increases diabetes risk. Eating a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and plant-based proteins helps prevent diabetes.

High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Having conditions like hypertension and dyslipidemia makes diabetes more likely. Improperly functioning blood vessels and poor circulation contribute to high blood sugar. Keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check is key.


Smoking raises blood glucose levels and leads to insulin resistance. The more someone smokes, the higher their risk of diabetes. Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke can help lower diabetes risk.

Alcohol Intake

Drinking excess amounts of alcohol regularly interferes with blood sugar regulation. Moderate your drinking by having no more than 1-2 alcoholic drinks per day to help avoid diabetes. Avoid binge drinking.

Low Testosterone

Low testosterone, or hypogonadism, is linked to insulin resistance and higher rates of diabetes in men. Having abnormally low testosterone may signify that diabetes is likely. Testosterone replacement therapy can help.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are associated with impaired glucose metabolism and diabetes risk. Getting screened for sleep apnea is a good idea for men with diabetes risk factors. Using CPAP therapy helps.


High levels of stress boost cortisol and epinephrine production, which raises blood glucose. Managing daily stress through relaxation techniques and physical activity can help stabilize blood sugar.

Understanding Prediabetes and Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Before developing full-blown type 2 diabetes, most people go through a period of prediabetes. Prediabetes means blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not at the diabetes range yet. Recognizing prediabetes signs and taking preventive action is key.

Signs of Prediabetes

There are often no clear symptoms of prediabetes. Signs that your blood sugar is starting to creep up may include:

  • Feeling thirstier than normal
  • Urinating more frequently that usual
  • Blurred vision on occasion
  • Fatigue some days

The only way to know if you have prediabetes is through blood tests. Your doctor can check your fasting blood glucose and HbA1c levels to detect prediabetes.

Importance of Early Detection

Catching prediabetes provides a crucial window to prevent or delay developing diabetes. Studies show that people with prediabetes who lost modest amounts of weight through diet and exercise had a significantly lower risk of getting diabetes.

Losing just 5-7% of your body weight and getting 150 minutes of exercise weekly helps normalize blood sugar. Small steps make a big difference in preventing diabetes.

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes prevention is possible with lifestyle adjustments like:

  • Following a healthy eating plan – Focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and lean protein. Avoid processed carbs and limit sweets.
  • Exercising more – Aim for 30 minutes daily of moderate activity like brisk walking. Also include two strength training sessions per week.
  • Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight – Losing extra pounds, especially belly fat, can help reverse prediabetes.
  • Quitting smoking – Kicking the habit can quickly lower diabetes risk. Avoid secondhand smoke too.
  • Limiting alcohol intake – Drinking in moderation, no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men, prevents diabetes.
  • Reducing stress – Finding healthy ways to cope with stress helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Getting enough sleep – Clocking at least 7 hours nightly benefits blood sugar control and metabolism.

Following the doctor’s recommendations for lifestyle changes and monitoring glucose levels regularly are your best bet for avoiding type 2 diabetes after being diagnosed with prediabetes.

Diabetes Complications in Men

If diabetes is left uncontrolled or poorly managed, it can lead to various complications over time. Monitoring blood sugar levels and following the treatment plan helps prevent issues, but complications still occur. Some common diabetes complications affecting men include:

Cardiovascular Disease

Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. Heart disease is the top cause of death in men with diabetes. Controlling cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugars helps protect the heart.

Kidney Disease

Over one-third of people with diabetes develop diabetic nephropathy, or kidney damage from high blood glucose. Kidney disease is more likely the longer someone has diabetes and the less controlled their blood sugar is. Getting urine tests to check for protein is important.

Eye Damage

Diabetic retinopathy affects the eyes’ retinas and blood vessels due to diabetes. It can cause vision impairment and blindness in severe cases. Eye exams to detect changes are crucial – treatment can prevent most vision loss if caught early.

Nerve Damage

About half of people with diabetes get nerve damage, called diabetic neuropathy. High blood sugar injures nerve fibers, causing pain, numbness, and tingling, often in the hands and feet. Check feet daily due to reduced sensation from nerve damage.

Skin Problems

Bacterial and fungal skin infections are common in men with diabetes. The disease also causes slower wound healing, increasing risk of skin ulcers and infections. Careful skin hygiene and early treatment of any wounds or infections is vital.

Foot Ulcers and Amputation

Nerve damage in the feet combined with reduced blood flow increases risk of foot ulcers and infections. Left untreated, these can require partial or full amputation of the foot or leg. Check feet daily and wear proper footwear to prevent ulcers.

Sexual Dysfunction

Diabetes leads to erectile dysfunction in over 50% of men. High blood sugars injure blood vessels and nerves needed for erections. Diabetes also causes decreased testosterone and low ejaculate. See your doctor for help managing sexual complications.

Mental Health Problems

Coping with a complication-prone, incurable disease can take a toll. Diabetes doubles the odds of anxiety and depression. Seeking counseling and joining a support group helps handle the emotional burden.

By keeping your blood sugars within your target range each day, watching for signs of potential issues, and getting regular checkups, you can preserve your health and avoid devastating complications of diabetes. Working closely with your healthcare team is the key.

Signs of High and Low Blood Sugar in Men with Diabetes

Men with diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly to make sure they stay within the normal range and avoid potentially dangerous highs and lows. Recognizing symptoms of low and high blood glucose helps ensure prompt treatment.

Hyperglycemia Signs – High Blood Sugar

Consistently high blood sugar causes typical diabetes symptoms like:

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach pains or nausea

More severe hyperglycemia can lead to:

  • Confusion and difficulty concentrating
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Ketones on breath with fruity odor
  • Labored breathing

Extremely high blood sugar can result in diabetic coma if left untreated. Seek emergency care if blood sugar is over 240 mg/dL and you have symptoms of ketoacidosis like shortness of breath, dry mouth, and fruity-scented breath.

Hypoglycemia Signs – Low Blood Sugar

Common symptoms of low blood glucose or hypoglycemia include:

  • Shakiness, sweating, chills
  • Irritability, impatience, anxiety
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Tingling or numbness in lips and tongue
  • Hunger, nausea
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion

Severe hypoglycemia can lead to seizures, loss of consciousness, coma, and even death if not treated quickly. If blood sugar drops below 70 mg/dL and you feel very dizzy, shaky, and weak, drink or eat something sugary right away. Seek emergency help if it does not subside promptly.

Preventing Blood Sugar Highs and Lows

You can help prevent dangerous blood sugar swings by:

  • Checking glucose levels frequently, at least 3-4x daily if on insulin
  • Following the recommended diet, medication, and exercise program
  • Carrying quick-acting glucose sources in case blood sugar drops
  • Wearing medical ID to identify you have diabetes
  • Coming prepared with a carbohydrate snack for activities
  • Not missing or delaying meals
  • Staying hydrated
  • Getting enough rest
  • Avoiding excessive alcohol
  • Managing stress

Talk to your doctor about adjusting glucose targets and diabetes treatment if you experience frequent highs and lows. Tracking any symptoms helps optimize diabetes management.

Diabetes Diet Tips for Men

Following a healthy eating plan tailored to managing diabetes helps men control blood sugar swings and prevent complications. Key diet tips for men with diabetes include:

Emphasize Vegetables

Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, kale, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, and greens. They are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber with less effect on blood sugar than starchy carbs.

Choose Lean Protein

Select plant-based protein sources like beans, lentils, tofu, and edamame. Also incorporate lean poultry, fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy. These give steady energy without blood sugar spikes.

Include Smart Carbohydrates

Focus on whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta. Limit processed carbs like white bread, sugary cereal, crackers, and chips. Pair carbs with protein or fat to slow digestion.

Stay Hydrated

Drink water as your primary beverage. Try for at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Limit sugary drinks like soda and juice. Alcohol also dehydrates the body, so moderate intake.

Monitor Portions

Consuming large portions packs on calories and encourages overeating. Use a smaller plate, take no seconds, and avoid supersizing. Stop eating when you feel 80% full. Portioning carbs helps control blood sugar response.

Know the Glycemic Index

Choose foods with a low glycemic index that do not spike your blood sugar quickly. Examples are beans, lentils, nuts, oatmeal, and most fruits and non-starchy vegetables. Avoid high glycemic foods like potatoes, corn, white rice, and sugary snacks.

Time Meals Properly

Eat at regular times throughout the day to prevent blood sugar lows. Do not skip meals. Eating meals at least 4-5 hours apart allows blood sugar to stabilize. Pair carbs with protein, fat, and fiber to help control blood glucose response.

Exercise Portion Control

Calories still count with diabetes. Consuming excess calories promotes weight gain and higher blood sugars. Limit portion sizes, especially with carb-heavy foods. Avoid going back for seconds. Spread carbs throughout meals instead of overloading one sitting.

Snack Smart

When hunger strikes between meals, choose a snack with protein and fiber such as nuts, seeds, Greek yogurt, cheese, vegetables with hummus, or half a sandwich. This prevents blood sugar spikes from snacking on refined carbs or sugar.

Check Nutrition Labels

Read food labels to identify total carbohydrates, added sugars, fiber, sodium, and protein per serving. Compare similar items and opt for less processed products with more fiber and nutrients. Avoid foods with ingredients like high fructose corn syrup.

Drink Alcohol Responsibly

If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation by limiting yourself to 1 drink or less per day. One drink equals 12 oz beer, 5 oz wine, or 1.5 oz liquor. Alcohol lowers blood sugar, so do not drink on an empty stomach. Know alcohol interacts with diabetes medications.

Make Lifestyle Adjustments

Implementing lifestyle changes like losing excess weight, increasing daily activity, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep helps you manage diabetes through diet. Making adjustments to support healthy eating habits allows you to take control of your health.

Diabetes Medications for Men

If diet and exercise alone are not sufficient to control blood glucose levels, diabetes medications are typically prescribed. Many options are available to help men with type 1 and type 2 diabetes manage their condition.


For men with type 1 diabetes and some cases of type 2, insulin therapy is needed because the body does not produce enough insulin on its own. Multiple types of insulin are used.

  • Rapid-acting – Starts working in 15 minutes to lower blood sugar at meals. Examples: Humalog, Novolog, Apidra.
  • Short-acting – Takes effect in 30-60 minutes and lasts 3-6 hours. Examples: Regular insulin, Novolin R, Humulin R.
  • Intermediate-acting – Lasts 12-18 hours to control blood sugars overnight and between meals. Examples: NPH insulin, Humulin N, Novolin N.
  • Long-acting – Provides a steady insulin dose for 24 hours. Examples: Lantus, Levemir, Basaglar, Tresiba.

Non-Insulin Injectables

Some non-insulin medications are self-administered by injection for type 2 diabetes:

  • GLP-1 Receptor Agonists – Stimulate insulin production and suppress appetite. Examples: Victoza, Ozempic, Trulicity, Bydureon.
  • Amylin Mimetic – Slows digestion to prevent blood sugar spikes. Example: Symlin.

Oral Medications

People with type 2 diabetes often start with oral medications, sometimes along with insulin or other injectables:

  • Biguanides – Blocks glucose production by the liver and improves insulin sensitivity. Examples: metformin, metformin extended-release.
  • Sulfonylureas – Stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin. Examples: glimepiride, glipizide.
  • Meglitinides – Also stimulate pancreatic insulin secretion but work faster and for a shorter time than sulfonylureas. Examples: Prandin, Starlix.
  • Thiazolidinediones – Improve insulin sensitivity in muscle and fat tissues. Examples: Actos, Avanda.
  • DPP-4 inhibitors – Slow the breakdown of insulin, keeping blood sugars steady. Examples: Januvia, Tradjenta, Onglyza.
  • SGLT2 inhibitors – Prevent the kidneys from reabsorbing glucose, lowering blood sugar. Examples: Farxiga, Jardiance.
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors – Slow carb digestion to prevent blood sugar spikes. Examples: Glyset, Precose.
  • Bile acid sequestrants – Help manage cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Examples: Welchol, Colesevelam.

Ask your doctor about the best medication options for your individual needs and do not take OTC remedies or herbal products without medical approval. Take medications exactly as prescribed.

Report any side effects or blood sugar concerns promptly so your treatment plan can be adjusted. Work with your healthcare team to find the optimal medical regimen for controlling your diabetes.

Blood Glucose Monitoring for Men with Diabetes

Checking blood sugar levels regularly with a glucose meter helps men with diabetes evaluate how well their treatment plan is working and make adjustments as needed.

Who Needs to Test Blood Sugars?

People with type 1 diabetes must test daily as they require insulin. Those using insulin pumps also require frequent monitoring. People with type 2 diabetes should test if:

  • Taking insulin or other injected medication
  • On a new diabetes medication regimen
  • Pregnant
  • Experiencing low blood sugar episodes
  • Planning to drive or operate heavy machinery
  • Ill or recovering from an illness
  • Starting a new exercise program
  • Consuming alcohol

When to Test Blood Glucose

Testing times that give helpful information include:

  • Fasting level – Check first thing when you wake up before eating or taking medication
  • Before meals – Testing before breakfast, lunch, and dinner shows how meds/meals affect you
  • 1-2 hours after the start of each meal – Checks post-meal spike; target is under 180 mg/dL
  • Bedtime – Take another reading before bed to ensure you are not too high or low overnight

Tips for Accurate Results

To get the best accuracy from your meter:

  • Always wash your hands before testing with soap and water
  • Rotate to a new finger prick site each time
  • Hold the drop of blood to the test strip immediately
  • Check expiration dates on test strips/lancets and discard expired ones
  • Store strips as directed and at room temperature
  • Follow any control testing requirements for your meter
  • Make sure your meter is properly coded

Discuss your glucose targets and ideal testing schedule with your diabetes care team. Recording your readings in a logbook helps you spot needed treatment adjustments.

Lifestyle Tips for Men with Diabetes

While diabetes treatment focuses heavily on medication and diet, making certain lifestyle changes enhances overall health and blood sugar control. Helpful tips for men with diabetes include:

Exercise Regularly

  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days per week (like brisk walking)
  • Add resistance training 2-3 days per week to build muscle mass
  • Exercise boosts insulin sensitivity for 24 hours after
  • Time activity consistently and avoid exercising when blood sugars are very high

Reduce Stress

  • High stress elevates blood glucose and complicates diabetes management
  • Practice relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or tai chi
  • Make time each day for an enjoyable activity
  • Get emotional support from loved ones, friends, or support groups

Focus on Sleep

  • Not getting adequate sleep worsens insulin resistance
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time daily
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet
  • Limit screen time before bed
  • If you have sleep apnea, use CPAP therapy nightly

Stop Smoking

  • Smoking raises blood sugar, blood pressure, and risk of complications
  • Enroll in a smoking cessation program if you need help quitting
  • Avoid secondhand smoke exposure
  • Cutting out smoking improves insulin sensitivity

Limit Alcohol

  • Alcohol interacts negatively with diabetes medications
  • Too much alcohol reduces blood sugar
  • Moderate intake to no more than 1-2 drinks per day
  • Do not drink alcohol when blood sugar is low
  • Never drink alcohol without eating food

Making diabetes-friendly lifestyle choices enhances your physical health, mental outlook, and blood glucose control. Consistency with healthy habits provides benefits over the long run.

Preventing Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common complications of diabetes, affecting 50%-75% of men with the disease. Preventing the vascular and nervous system damage that causes ED is possible through optimal diabetes care.

Control Blood Glucose Levels

Keeping average blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible prevents nerve and artery damage that impairs erectile function. Monitoring glucose routinely and following your prescribed treatment regimen helps stave off ED.

Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

Eating a nutritious diet focused on whole foods, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, and reducing stress supports circulatory health and hormone balance for optimal erectile functioning.

Lower High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure damages blood vessels and is linked to ED. If you have hypertension along with diabetes, work to get it down through diet, exercise, medication, and limiting alcohol and salt intake.

Manage Cholesterol

High cholesterol leads to atherosclerosis, which inhibits blood flow needed for erections. Follow medical advice to control cholesterol levels through medication, increased physical activity, and diet.

Discuss Medications with Your Doctor

Some medications that treat other diabetes complications can worsen ED as a side effect. Talk to your doctor about alternatives if ED develops after starting a new medication.

Get Tested for Low Testosterone

Low testosterone reduces sex drive and affects erections. Get tested if you suspect your testosterone is low and discuss treatment such as testosterone replacement therapy if indicated.

Addressing diabetes proactively rather than waiting for complications to arise gives you the best chance of staying healthy and avoiding sexual difficulties like ED.

Coping with Diabetes Complications

Even with diligent diabetes management, complications still occur. Dealing with issues like erectile dysfunction, kidney disease, or eye damage can take an emotional toll. These tips help men cope in a healthy way:

Learn All You Can

Research your condition fully so you know what to expect and how to manage symptoms. Information and understanding provide a sense of control.

Follow Your Treatment Plan

Take all prescribed medications, monitor your condition routinely through testing, and make recommended lifestyle changes to halt progression of the complication. Prevent further damage.

Track Your Feelings

Notice if you feel depressed, angry, anxious or overwhelmed. Journaling, therapy, support groups, and sharing with loved ones prevents isolation. Know these are normal responses.

Adjust Your Expectations

Accept that some enjoyable things may change due to your complication, but the condition does not define you. Set realistic goals you can achieve. Focus on maintaining independence and quality of life.

Connect with Others Who Have Been There

Those closest to your experience can offer practical tips plus emotional backing when you have the same health condition. Join a group or talk to men who have faced similar complications.

Make Self Care a Priority

Do relaxing and fun activities often. Eat nutritiously, rest, exercise, and find stress relief through yoga, music, massage, or hiking in nature. Caring for your emotional health helps you cope.

Consider Counseling

If negative feelings persist and impact your functioning, seek professional counseling for depression, anxiety, grief, or reduced self-esteem. Therapy helps you move forward constructively.

Dealing effectively with diabetes complications involves both optimal medical treatment as well as caring for your mental health needs. Use all the resources available to build your resilience.

Frequently Asked Questions About Early Signs of Diabetes in Men

What are the most common early symptoms of diabetes in men?

Some of the most common early diabetes symptoms that men should look out for include: frequent urination/thirst, blurry vision, recurrent infections, erectile dysfunction, extreme fatigue, increased appetite, unexplained weight loss, slow wound healing, tingling hands and feet.

How can men prevent or delay getting diabetes?

Losing excess weight, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep help prevent diabetes. Controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels also reduces diabetes risk. Having blood glucose tested routinely starting at age 45 is recommended.

What complications can uncontrolled diabetes cause in men?

If diabetes is poorly controlled, it can lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, eye damage and blindness, painful nerve damage, foot sores/infections/amputation, skin problems, sexual dysfunction like erectile dysfunction, and mental health issues.

How is diabetes treated and managed in men?

Treatment involves medications to control blood sugars like insulin, other injectables, and oral diabetes drugs. Lifestyle management through a healthy diabetes diet, regular exercise, glucose monitoring, avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol, and stress reduction are also key. Working closely with your medical provider on the treatment plan is important.


Diabetes is a serious but manageable condition that men need to be aware of, especially as they age. Catching symptoms early and promptly getting medical attention provides the best opportunity to prevent complications and maintain health.

Controlling glucose levels through medication, diet, exercise, monitoring, and healthy lifestyle habits reduces the risks this disease carries. Work closely with your medical provider and take ownership of your diabetes care each day.

While living with diabetes poses challenges, a positive attitude and self-care mindset allows men to thrive. Surround yourself with a support network and take advantage of resources. Advancements in diabetes treatments make it possible

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