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Men's Health

Prevent Diabetes: Know the Risk Factors

Since research indicates diabetes as the third leading cause of erectile dysfunction, you might think men would be educated about the disease, its risk factors and symptoms. Surprisingly, however, fewer than 4 percent knew diabetes was a leading cause of impotence, according to a survey conducted by the Diabetes Prevention Program.

Nearly 40 percent of respondents were unable to name any of the risk factors for diabetes, the most important of which are family history, being overweight, being from certain minority groups and being over age 45.

“These results are quite disturbing. It is clear there is little awareness among men about diabetes and its consequences. Almost every man knows something about heart attacks, but very few appear to know much about diabetes,” said Dr. David Nathan, study chairman of the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a study to determine if type 2 diabetes can be prevented.

Nathan also is director of the Diabetes Center and the General Clinical Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Approximately 7.5 million men in the United States have type 2 diabetes and one-third are undiagnosed. Diabetes can lead to heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, amputations and other permanent impairments.

The symptoms of diabetes include increased urination and thirst, tingling or numbness in the extremities, blurred vision, and fatigue, among others.

Other significant findings include:

  • Thirteen percent of men mistakenly thought eating too much sugar was a diabetes risk factor.

  • Only 1 percent knew being over age 45 was a risk factor.

  • Of those who claimed familiarity with the risk factors, only 33 percent named being overweight and 27 percent named family history.

“The survey underscores the importance of diabetes prevention. If the Diabetes Prevention Program succeeds, we may be able to help millions of Americans avoid diabetes and its severs complications while saving billions of dollars in healthcare expenses. The importance of the study can not be overstated,” said Nathan.

For more information about the DPP, call (888) DPP-JOIN.

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