DIABETES is a severe and chronic disease that affects the body’s multiple organs’ proper functioning, mostly when left unmanaged.
The disease has no cure, and a preventive approach is best for those at risk of developing diabetes mellitus.
Diabetes occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood at any point in time. Sugar (glucose) is the end-product of carbohydrate foods.
Typically, a hormone called insulin is produced in the pancreas whenever glucose or sugar enters the bloodstream.
Insulin produced by the pancreas helps ‘pack’ sugar away from the blood into the cells needed and used by the body to carry out normal daily activities.
Cells of the body cannot survive without glucose, so they all depend on the body’s proper production and insulin use.
In diabetes, any of the following variants may be present:
a.) The pancreas does not produce insulin at all. It is known as Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and accounts for 10 per cent of cases. It may occur at any age but is commoner in children.
It is Insulin-Dependent Diabetes because sufferers have to depend entirely on an external source of insulin.
b.) The body produces insulin, but the quantity produced is not enough to meet the body’s needs. It initially begins as insulin resistance, in which the body does not respond appropriately to the insulin produced. It causes even higher production until the body can no longer cope with the demand, and production drops. It is known as Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and accounts for 90 per cent of cases.
- Gestational diabetes is the type in which diabetes is triggered by pregnancy in women. It is caused by the insulin-blocking hormones that are produced by the placenta.
Untreated high blood sugar from diabetes can damage nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs, including those related to fertility in both males and females.
Incidence of diabetes
The estimated global incidence of people living with diabetes in 2019 was at 9.3 per cent (463 million people), with a projected increase to (578 million) by 2030 and 10.9 per cent (700 million) by 2045.
The majority of affected people are resident in urban than rural areas, and high-income than low-income countries.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria has the highest number of people with diabetes, with an estimated 3.9 million people (or an extrapolated prevalence of 4.99 per cent) of the adult population aged 20-to-79-year-old.
Signs and symptoms of diabetes
- Excessive thirst and hunger
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Recurrent fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing wounds
- Skin infections
- Darkening of skin in areas of body creases (acanthosis nigricans)
- Breath odour that is fruity, sweet, or an acetone odor
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet.
Effects of diabetes on male fertility
Diabetes can contribute to male infertility in the following ways:
- Erectile dysfunction/impotence): Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection for the effective completion of sexual activity.
It is caused by nerve damage and reduced blood flow to the male sex organ, resulting from poorly controlled or long-standing diabetes.
Retrograde ejaculation is when the semen enters the bladder rather than exiting via the penis during ejaculation. It can mainly impair conception as semen would not be deposited in the female genital tract during:
- Sexual intercourse, making it difficult for such a couple to conceive
- Low testosterone: Testosterone is the male sex hormone. Studies show that one in four men with type 2 diabetes has low levels of this hormone. It leads to low sperm count, decreased sex drive, and in some cases, erectile dysfunction.
- Decreased sex drive (reduced libido)
- Reduced sperm quality: A preliminary study shows that men with type 1 diabetes may have more DNA damage in their sperm, possibly hampering fertility.
Effects of diabetes on female fertility
Diabetes is associated with lower rates of fertility in women, as the disease has been linked to the occurrence of:
- Irregular or absent menstrual periods
- Premature ovarian failure
- Recurrent miscarriages
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (associated with type 2 diabetes, the patient suffers from excess male hormones and problems with ovulation)
- Fetal malformation
In pregnant women with uncontrolled sugar levels, their babies may suffer congenital malformations, congenital disabilities, and low birth weight. The babies can sometimes become too big in weight, leading to problems during delivery that may lead to stillbirths.
As debilitating as diabetes can be, the good news is that individuals can lead an everyday life and have full fertility potential if adequately managed.
Couples living with diabetes, who wish to conceive, are encouraged to take daily folic acid for about three to six months before conception.
It dramatically reduces the incidence of birth defects in the newborn.
At Mart-Life Detox Clinic, the approach to managing diabetes, especially among men and women battling with infertility, is to maintain a healthy blood sugar range with an individualised healthy diet and rigorous monitoring of blood sugar levels, regular physical exercise regimen, and reduction or elimination of stress or anxiety by the guiding principles of Modern Mayr Medicine.
Medications, where appropriate, and effective use of orthomolecular supplementation are essential components of management. Following evaluation by doctors, a supervised Mayr detoxification programme is encouraged..
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