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Men and type 2 diabetes

Around 3.3 million people in the UK are diagnosed with diabetes, with around 90% of cases being type 2. In the UK more men than women have type 2 diabetes.

People with type 2 diabetes produce some insulin; however, the insulin their pancreas secretes is either not enough or the body is unable to recognise the insulin and use it properly. This is called insulin resistance. When there isn't enough insulin or the insulin is not used as it should be, sugar (glucose) can't get into the body's cells to be used for fuel. When sugar builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, the body's cells are not able to function properly. Other problems associated with the build-up of sugar in the blood include:

  • Dehydration. The build-up of sugar in the blood can cause an increase in urination (to try to clear the sugar from the body). When the kidneys lose the sugar through the urine, a large amount of water is also lost, causing dehydration.
  • Hyperosmolar nonketotic diabetic coma. When a person with type 2 diabetes becomes severely dehydrated and is not able to drink enough fluids to make up for the fluid losses, they may develop this life-threatening complication.
  • Damage to the body. Over time, high sugar levels in the blood may damage the nerves and blood vessels of the eyes, kidneys and heart and predispose a person to atherosclerosis (narrowing) of the arteries that can cause heart attack and stroke.

Who gets type 2 diabetes?

Anyone can get type 2 diabetes. However, those at highest risk of the disease are those who are obese or overweight, women who have had gestational diabetes, people with family members who have type 2 diabetes and people who have metabolic syndrome (a cluster of problems that include high cholesterol, high triglycerides, low good "HDL" cholesterol and high bad "LDL" cholesterol, and high blood pressure). In addition, older people are more susceptible to developing the disease since aging makes the body less tolerant of sugars.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Although it is more common than type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is less well understood. It is likely caused by multiple factors and not a single problem.

Type 2 diabetes can run in families, but the exact nature of how it's inherited or the identity of a single genetic factor is not known.

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes vary from person to person but may include:

A person may be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after arriving at hospital in a diabetic coma but this is very rare.

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