Men’s Sheds – A focus on Diabetes Awareness & Prevention

 mens-shed-facebook-headerA VHI screen of almost 30,000 Irish adults of which 13,000 were men produced the following significant results

  • Men are 2-3 times more likely than women to have abnormal blood glucose levels and undiagnosed diabetes1
  • The heavier the man, the greater the risk of Type 2 Diabetes AND Irish men have the highest body mass index in Europe2
  • Rates of impaired glucose tolerance were higher in males than females in all age groups with males aged 65-75yrs having the highest rates of type 2 diabetes1

It is not all bad news though. We find that when men decide to do something about their weight and health, they tend to show incredible focus and determination, especially when they feel motivated and supported. The Diabetes Ireland team are looking forward to working with men from Men’s Sheds in an initial pilot across the midlands and hopefully nationwide in the future.



Diabetes – at a glance

Diabetes is caused by a lack, or insufficiency of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that opens the doors into your cells, letting sugar (glucose) in and energy is produced from the glucose. In diabetes, the pancreas makes none or too little insulin. If sugar can’t get into the cells to be used, it builds up in the bloodstream. Therefore, diabetes is characterised by high blood sugar (glucose) levels.

Before you got diabetes, your body automatically kept your blood glucose exactly at the right level.

There are 2 main types of diabetes –

Type 1 diabetes tends to occur in childhood or early adult life and is caused by the body’s own immune system destroying the insulin-making cells (beta-cells) of the pancreas. Type 1 requires lifelong treatment with insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes usually develops slowly in adulthood. It is progressive and can sometimes be treated with diet and exercise, but more often Type 2 diabetes may require antidiabetic medicine and/or insulin injections. Poorly managed diabetes causes health complications to limbs, eyes, kidneys and heart.

Prediabetes develops when the body can still move move glucose out of the blood stream but not as quickly as it should. The human body wants blood glucose maintained in a very narrow range as high blood glucose causes damage to the blood vessel walls.

We will be focusing on educating Men’s Shed members on reducing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Know the risk factors and symptoms for Type 2 Diabetes as it can take up to 12 years to develop and get a diagnosis. Undetected, poorly managed or being in denial about Type 2 diabetes can seriously affect your enjoyment of life and your health. If YOU choose to, you can live well with Diabetes.

Know the Risk Factors

  • Over 40 years of age
  • Have a parent or brother/sister with diabetes
  • Are overweight for your height
  • Not taking 30 minutes of physical activity daily
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high cholesterol

Know the Symptoms

  • Fatigue, lack of energy
  • Extreme thirst or have a dry mouth
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom (urination) especially at night
  • Rapid and unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Frequent infections & slow healing cuts/sores
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness, pain or tingling in your hands or feet (worse at night)
  • Genital irritation or thrush

Take our “Are you at Risk” test NOW

If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, you can take an online “Are you at Risk” test by Diabetes Ireland. Take the test here.  Click on image below               Are you at risk?

If you get a moderate to high risk test score, Diabetes Ireland recommend you visit your GP for a simple blood test to RULE OUT diabetes.

Do you have a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes or Prediabetes?

This year Diabetes Ireland launched 2 new self-help tools

Diabetes SMART is a new online education programme for people with Type 2 and those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. It is a series of videos, interactive quizzes and visual displays of food types and portion sizes along with exercise recommendations. Start the course here. click on image

start course image for website

Our second self-help tool is the latest 50-page comprehensive book with everything you need to know about Type 2 Diabetes called “Living Well with Type 2 Diabetes”

front page of Living Well with Type 2 diabetes


Thirdly, we have a helpline support telephone line from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm (closed 1pm-1.30pm). Call us if you have a  query or concern.

Telephone helpline number





  1. Fasting Plasma Glucose as Initial Screening for Diabetes and Prediabetes in Irish Adults: The Diabetes Mellitus and Vascular Health Initiative (DMVhi). 2015 PLOS One.


  1. Trends in adult body-mass index in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014: a pooled analysis of 1698 population-based measurement studies with 19·2 million participants The Lancet. 387,10026, 1377-1396