Type 2 diabetes is caused by a variety of different factors, including age, weight, genetics, and lifestyle habits. Unfortunately, gender also plays a role. Men are up to twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to women. Men are also more likely to have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, putting them at risk for complications.
Why Men are at Higher Risk
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your cells develop insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that signals your cells to absorb glucose (blood sugar) from the bloodstream. When cells become insulin resistant, they no longer pull glucose out of the blood, leading to high blood glucose levels.
If left untreated, high glucose levels in the bloodstream can cause damage to the blood vessels and organs.
Insulin Resistance and Belly Fat
Being overweight or obese is a significant risk factor for insulin resistance. However, the location of the extra fat plays a key role in diabetes risk.
Men often carry excess weight in the belly area. In contrast, women tend to carry extra weight on their hips and thighs. Excess weight in the belly area is more likely to lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Testosterone and Type 2 Diabetes
As men get older, their levels of testosterone usually decline. This decline in testosterone is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
The hormone testosterone influences the location of fat storage in the body. When testosterone levels are low, men are more likely to store excess fat in the belly area, contributing to insulin resistance.
Managing Your Type 2 Diabetes Risk
To decrease your risk, it’s essential to follow good lifestyle habits that encourage a healthy weight. Eating well and getting regular exercise will prevent weight gain. Physical activity also makes the cells more sensitive to insulin which lowers the risk of insulin resistance.
To maintain healthy testosterone levels, men are encouraged to engage in regular strength training and avoid weight gain.
Regular visits with your doctor are essential to monitor your health and assess your risk of diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, working with a skilled medical team will keep your blood sugar levels under control and prevent complications.