Diabetes Affects Erectile Function
Men with diabetes have poorer erectile function because diabetes affects erectile response in many key areas.
Diabetes affects erectile function due to common physical causes including:
- Damage to blood vessels causing a decrease in blood supply to the penis
- Damage to nerves responsible for the erection mechanism
- Reduction in the nitric oxide cycle important for erections (related to blood supply)
- Low testosterone common in diabetic men – leading to low sex drive
- Psychological stresses from diabetes secondary symptoms – pain, fatigue and numbness
Diabetes and erectile dysfunction have common underlying conditions – namely metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance – which can lead to ED showing up as a warning of possible metabolic disorders before a man is diagnosed as being diabetic.
- Above the age of 50, the likelihood of having difficulties with an erection occurs in approximately 50-60% of men with diabetes.
- In men over 70 with diabetes, more than 80 per cent have erectile dysfunction problems.
Much diabetes goes undiagnosed for up to a decade and by then it has become a serious health problem. Around one third of the men with diabetes are not aware of their illness.
Poor erectile function can be an early warning sign of a pre-diabetic condition, and so it is important for both physical and emotional health to take it seriously when it occurs.
Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes & ED
If you have experienced impaired erectile function and you are wondering how that might affect your risk of diabetes, consider some of the common risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, the adult onset type suffered by 90 per cent of diabetics. You are at higher risk if you have:
Common Symptoms Diabetes & ED
Diabetes and ED both have higher risks of metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and low testosterone in common. Symptoms of these conditions include:
• Tiredness & disturbed sleep patterns
• Frequent urination (especially at night)
• Being very thirsty
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
• Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
• Sores that heal slowly
• Dry, itchy skin
• Loss of feeling or tingling in your feet
Waist Size Predicts Diabetes & ED
Overall obesity, measured by high body mass index (BMI) and a “beer pot” belly, measured by a large waist circumference, both accurately predict the risk of type 2 diabetes in men, but abdominal obesity appears to be the better diabetes and ED predictor research shows.
Both BMI and waist circumference are useful for assessing health but waist circumference can indicate a strong risk for diabetes and erectile dysfunction whether or not a man is considered overweight or obese according to his BMI, researchers said.
As waist circumference increased, so did the risk of developing both diabetes and erectile dysfunction, with the diabetes risk in men with the highest waist circumference (up to 158 centimeters) increasing by 12 times.
In a study of waist circumference and erectile dysfunction and urinary problems:
- Nearly 75 per cent of the men with a waist circumference of 100cm or more had erection problems
- 50 per cent of the men with a waist measurement of 90 to 99 cm had erection problems
- 65 per cent of the large waist group and
- 40 per cent of the middle group also had problems with ejaculatory function
These findings also suggest that the currently recommended cut off for high waist circumference of 102 cm (40 inches) for men may need to be lowered to 95 cm.
Many of the men who developed Type 2 diabetes had measurements lower than the cut off and the risk associated with the waist circumference increased at a much lower level than previously thought.
Sleep Risks for Diabetes & ED
Disturbed sleep patterns – either sleeping too little or too much – are another common risk factor shared by men at risk from Type 2 diabetes and poor erectile function.
Too little sleep affects testosterone levels, (causing erectile dysfunction and low sex drive) and produce metabolic disturbances like
- Decreased carbohydrate tolerance
- Insulin resistance
- Lower levels of the hormone leptin leading to obesity
- Metabolic syndrome
The mechanisms by which long sleep duration increase diabetes risk requires further investigation.
Six to eight hours of sleep was found to be the most healthy.
Men who sleep too much or too little are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a study by the New England Research Institutes in collaboration with Yale School of Medicine researchers.
In contrast, men who reported they slept between five and six hours per night were twice as likely to develop diabetes and men who slept more than eight hours per night were three times as likely to develop diabetes. Previous data have shown similar results in women.
Similar research shows sleep disorders like sleep apnoea disrupt sexual health and response in both men and women.
Delay or Prevent Diabetes & ED
When you take steps to prevent diabetes, you also improve erectile function as well as reduce the risks from heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and possible amputations.
Small changes in your lifestyle can make a difference, including:
• Getting 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week and losing 5 to 7 per cent of your body weight
• To help you lose weight, choose low-fat foods and foods high in fiber
• Cut down on fat and cholesterol by having low-fat dairy products, lean cuts of meat, fish, poultry, fruits, and vegetables
• Limit foods high in salt and sugar
Risks Factors for Diabetes & ED
To find out if you’re at risk from either diabetes or poor erectile function, check off each item that applies to you:
• I am overweight or obese. (Check your waist measurement in line with the guidelines above. Is it below 90cm?)
• Use this calculator to find out your BMI
• I have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes.
• My family background is African American, American Indian, Asian American, Latino, Maori or Pacific Islander.
• I have high blood pressure.
• My cholesterol is not normal. My HDL or “good” cholesterol is less than 50 or my triglycerides are 250 or higher.
• I am not very active. I exercise less than three times each week.
- I am experiencing erection problems more frequently
Talk to your doctor or health care practitioner about the risks that you checked off. If you are age 45 or older, also talk about getting tested for Type 2 diabetes, and/or erectile dysfunction treatment. If your test result is normal, you should then be tested every three years. People younger than age 45 who are overweight or obese and checked off any of the items above should also talk about getting tested for diabetes.
Herbal Erectile Dysfunction Treatment
Diabetes affects erectile function because both are chronic life style related conditions with common metabolic risk factors, and also similar life style changes can help reduce and reverse both conditions.
For long term benefits you need to make those changes. In the meantime, herbal supplements like Herbal Ignite can help boost testosterone levels and energy levels, giving you a lift in well-being and improved erections.
Herbal supplements are most suited for men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. If that’s you, why not try some today?