Although diabetes and erectile dysfunction are two separate conditions, they tend to go hand in hand. ED is defined as having difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection. Men who have diabetes are two to three times more likely to develop ED. When men aged 45 and underdevelop ED, it may be a sign of type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes occurs when you have too much sugar in your bloodstream. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, which affects less than 10%of those who have diabetes, and type 2 diabetes, which accounts for over 90% of diabetes cases. Type 2 diabetes often develops as a result of being overweight or inactive. Approximately 30 million people across the globe have diabetes, and about half of them are men.
An estimated 10% of men aged 40 to 70 have severe ED, and another 25% have moderate ED. ED tends to become more common as men age, though it is not an inevitable part of ageing. For many men, other health conditions, such as diabetes, contribute to the likelihood of developing ED.
What the research says
The Boston University Medical Center reports that about half of men who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will develop ED within five to ten years of their diagnosis. If those men also have heart disease, their odds of becoming impotent are even greater.
However, the results of a 2014 study suggest that if you have diabetes but adopt a healthier lifestyle, you may reduce your diabetes symptoms and improve your sexual health. These lifestyle habits include eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
What causes ED in men with diabetes?
The connection between diabetes and ED is related to your circulation and nervous system. Poorly controlled blood sugar levels can damage small blood vessels and nerves. Damage to the nerves that control sexual stimulation and response can impede a man’s ability to achieve an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. Reduced blood flow from damaged vessels can also contribute to ED.
Risk Factors for Erectile Dysfunction
Several risk factors can increase your chance of diabetes complications, including ED. You may be more at risk if you:
- Have poorly managed blood sugar
- Are stressed
- Have anxiety
- Have depression
- Eat a poor diet
- Aren’t active
- Are obese
- Drink excessive amounts of alcohol
- Have uncontrolled hypertension
- Have an abnormal blood lipid profile
- Take medications that list ED as a side effect
- Take prescription drugs for high blood pressure, pain, or depression
If ED is something you’re worried about then get in touch with a patient coordinator here at Moorgate Andrology and see how we can treat your erectile dysfunction.