Erectile Dysfunction And Type 2 Diabetes
Erectile Dysfunction And Type 2 Diabetes
People with type 2 diabetes are no different from other humans, except to the fact they mostly may not eat what those who don’t suffer type 2 diabetes consume. It’s important to recognize and address sexuality issues that affect people with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can cause sexual complications for both men and women.
A common sexual health issue seen in people with type 2 diabetes is a decrease in libido, or loss of a sex drive. This can be frustrating if someone had a thriving libido and satisfying sex life before a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. But according to new research,
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People who had genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes were more likely to have erectile dysfunction, a new study suggests. The researchers revealed in a study published (Dec. 20) in the American Journal of Human Genetics.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which your body can’t produce enough insulin, can’t use insulin, or a mix of both. In diabetes, sugar levels in the blood go up. This can cause complications if left uncontrolled.
The potential health consequences are often serious. Diabetes raises the risk of cardiovascular disease and can cause problems with your eyes, kidneys, and skin, among other things. However, many of these complications are preventable or treatable with awareness and attention to your health.
But the researchers analyzed data gathered in three different databases: the UK Biobank, the Estonian Genome Center of the University of Tartu cohort and the Partners HealthCare Biobank. The study involved more than 220,000 men, around 6,000 of whom had erectile dysfunction.
In the study, researchers wanted to see what conditions or genetic traits might predispose people to ED. They looked at a bunch of genetic variants — different flavors of genes — that previous groups had identified as risk factors for developing conditions such as heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, all of which are also linked to ED.
Looking for genes that may increase a person’s risk for these disease is far from straightforward, however. For example, previous research has identified about 100 gene variations that are linked to type 2 diabetes alone. So, for each condition, the researchers calculated a “genetic risk factor score,” based on the number of risk-increasing gene variants a person had.
Then, the researchers looked to see if there were any links between a person’s genetic risk factor score and ED. They found that men with ED were more likely to have a high risk factor score for type 2 diabetes, compared with men without ED. The researchers didn’t find a strong association between ED and risk factor scores for any of the other conditions they looked at, however.
Dr. Caroline Messer, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not part of the study, agreed that the findings are compelling. “I would buy that it’s a cause and effect” she said. There are many ways that ED and type 2 diabetes could be connected, including through changes in the brain or through the blood vessels in the body, she noted.
Even so, knowing that ED might have a genetic basis that’s linked to type 2 diabetes isn’t really going to “change the way I’m going to treat my patients,” Messer said.
However, what makes the finding particularly interesting is that generally, risk factors for ED are thought to be things that occur alongside diabetes, such as hypertension or elevated body mass index (BMI) — in other words, that ED is the result of conditions that people have in addition to diabetes — not diabetes in and of itself, the researchers claimed. The new findings could change that.
According to the researchers “We have no direct evidence that by curing type 2 diabetes, you would cure erectile dysfunction,” but based on this study, “you would make that assumption.”
While the study primarily including people of British descent, the findings likely apply to all people with a European background. It’s unclear, however, if the study would apply to people all over world. More research is needed to apply the findings more broadly.
When To Seek Help For Type 2 Diabetes
Talking frankly with your doctor about ED and other sexual or urologic complications is essential. Simple blood tests can help diagnose diabetes. Investigating the cause of your ED can also help you discover other undiagnosed problems.
Risk Factors Of Type 2 Diabetes In Men
Many factors can increase your risk for diabetes and its complications, including:
- being overweight
- avoiding physical activity
- having high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Being older than 45
- Being of a certain ethnicity, including African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander
Preventing diabetes symptoms in men
Quitting or reducing smoking, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight are all highly effective ways to prevent the onset of diabetes. Discover more ways to prevent diabetes.
Treatment For Diabetes Symptoms In Men
Keeping your blood glucose level under control can help prevent urological and other diabetes-related problems. If you do develop diabetes-related problems, medications are available to help treat them.
ED medications, such as tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra), and sildenafil (Viagra) may help you manage your condition. Medications mixed with prostaglandins, which are hormone-like compounds, can also be injected into your penis to help treat your ED.
Your doctor may also refer you to a urologist or endocrinologist to treat the effects of low testosterone. Low testosterone is a common result of diabetes in men.
Low testosterone can cause you to lose interest in sex, experience decreases in body mass, and feel depressed. Talking to your doctor about these symptoms can allow you to get treatments such as testosterone injections or patches and gels that treat low testosterone.
Discuss all medications and supplements with your doctor to avoid any potentially harmful drug interactions. Share any changes in your sleeping pattern or other lifestyle habits with your doctor as well. Treating your mind can help the problems affecting the rest of your body.
Certain lifestyle choices can greatly impact your physical and mental well-being if you have diabetes.
Balancing your meals can improve your bodily health and delay the onset of diabetes symptoms. Try to get an even mixture of:
- fruits and vegetables
You should avoid excess sugar, especially in carbonated drinks such as soda and in candies.
Keep a regular exercise schedule and manage your blood sugar within your exercise regimen. This can allow you to get the full benefits of a workout without feeling shaky, tired, dizzy, or anxious.
exercise can really help manage type 2 diabetes, and so they might also affect erectile dysfunction.”