Diabetes in Australian men
In 2020 type 2 diabetes was ranked 8th in the leading health causes of death of men in Australia (AMHF, 2022). 1 in 20 people in Australia had diabetes in 2020-21, this was 5.7% of men in our country’s population.
Besides the common health problems caused by diabetes such as blindness, nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy), kidney failure, poor blood circulation; men with diabetes also face issues with their reproductive and sexual health. This includes low testosterone levels, erectile dysfunction, and low sex drive. Having low testosterone is a common issue men face when they are living with type 2 diabetes.
Creating healthy spaces for healthy habits
We can start by understanding the causes of type 2 diabetes. We know that some people have a genetic predisposition to develop this disease and are at greater risk if they are living with high blood pressure, poor diet, lack of exercise, overweight or carrying more weight around the waist – known as the apple shape body (Diabetes Australia, 2022).
Men’s Health Week is the ideal time to think about how we might target risk factors to improve physical and mental wellbeing. What small (or big!) changes can we make at home, at work, or when we see friends that will enable us to achieve our health goals?
How can we give ourselves the best chance of making healthy choices and feeling good in mind and body at home? Is it a matter of skipping the takeout and recreating our favourite dish at home with healthier substitutes? Are we ready to rethink what goes inside our fridge and pantry? Beyond the kitchen, we can also give thought to how we maintain and set up our personal space. Open those curtains and let in natural light, consider plants to provide green spaces, remove clutter or rubbish that may be clouding the mind. It can often help to share health goals with loved ones and let them know how they can help too.
Perhaps we’ve never given much thought as to how to make a very sedentary day at work, more active. Depending on the type of work we do there may be many ways to shape the day to support our health goals. Can we take the stairs at work instead of the lift? Pack a balanced lunch instead of visiting the canteen? What about a walk around the block at lunchtime to clear the head and aid in digestion? Are we drinking enough water? Is our workspace organised? If we’re overwhelmed, can we reach out to a manger to talk about ways to manage workload?
What about suggesting something active with friends – bare foot bowls or mini golf? What about walking to meet a friend at a local cafe instead of driving? Talking about health goals with friends gives them the opportunity to offer support.
The Men’s Health Week we’re reminded to work with our families and health services and be active in seeking medical help when unwell. Remember it is OK to ask for help, health professionals encourage you to seek help early before your health worsens and impacts your life on many levels.
And for those of us who know and care for men who are facing the challenges of diabetes, it can help significantly to encourage them to seek help when they need it.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018, December 12). Diabetes, 2017-18 | Australian Bureau of Statistics. Www.abs.gov.au. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/diabetes/latest-release
Diabetes Australia. (2021). Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Australia. https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/about-diabetes/type-2-diabetes/
Diabetes. (n.d.). Healthy Male. Retrieved May 24, 2022, from https://www.healthymale.org.au/mens-health/diabetes
Men’s Health Week | Male-Friendly Services. (n.d.). Westernsydney.edu.au. Retrieved May 24, 2022, from https://westernsydney.edu.au/mens-health-week/education/male-friendly_services
Men’s Health Week | Men’s Health Week – 13th to 19th June 2022. (n.d.). Www.westernsydney.edu.au. Retrieved May 24, 2022, from https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/mens-health-week
Trengove, A. the author K. (n.d.). Men’s Health Week 2022: Building Health Environments for Men and Boys. Australian Men’s Health Forum. Retrieved May 24, 2022, from https://www.amhf.org.au/men_s_health_week_2022_building_health_environments_for_men_and_boys