The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has launched a new men’s health education campaign to help bridge the gap and reach men with diabetes. Their goal is to provide tools and resources to take a “modern” approach to managing diabetes in every day life. A survey of 1,000 men showed that men with type 2 diabetes often feel sad or grumpy, get less enjoyment out of life, and feel like diabetes negatively impacts their sex lives. Good for ADA for bringing this stuff out of the closet.
Notably, most men were unaware that diabetes and related conditions can affect their emotional and sexual health. With symptoms such as depressed mood, erectile dysfunction and fatigue, men with low testosterone may feel too frustrated, unmotivated or unaware to discuss disease-related complications with a doctor or lover, further diminishing their ability to take a proactive approach to managing their diabetes. Some of the new ADA resources target men who are seeking male-specific health information including practical diet and exercise tips, information on sleep apnea, and other information on physical, emotional, and sexual health.
How exactly do you bridge the gap towards men? The ADA is trying with a new “Men’s Health” page on the ADA’s Web site. (Side note – we’re excited to catch a glimpse of the makeover to www.diabetes.org, where some of the pages and content have already transferred, like Men’s Health. Excellent. Stay tuned for further thoughts!) The ADA also created “The Modern Man’s Guide to Living Well with Diabetes” handbook, which can be downloaded from the site. At first glance, it has a lot of good information for men that could help enable many to make small, daily changes. We hope lots of primary care doctors, endocrinologists, and educators hear about this page, because sometimes it’s easier to learn about this at leisure rather than in a medical appointment, especially if time is limited as it so often is in the US system (especially after talking about blood glucose and cholesterol and blood pressure…) It’s great to see this resource come alive - after all, the survey results showed 60 percent of men wanted more information about conditions related to diabetes that would help them manage better overall. We second that! We do wish they had shortened the guide a bit; 36 pages may intimidate men who already feel overworked and overwhelmed by diabetes care. It does look like a guide that can be taken page by page…
Overall, we are excited about ADA’s take-charge stance on reaching out and closing the information gap for men. We hope they continue to be proactive and help others – particularly those falling through the cracks of diabetes care (young adult and transition support anyone?? Pregnancy? Elderly?).