Recent studies underline the strong association between diabetes and erectile dysfunction. A shockingly high percentage of men seeking treatment for ED have been found to suffer from prediabetes.
It has long been acknowledged that men with diabetes face a higher than normal risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Now, new findings indicate that prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are high but not yet high enough to qualify as type 2 diabetes, appears to be a highly accurate predictor of erectile dysfunction risk.
A recently published Italian study found that 29 percent — nearly one-third — of 589 men seeking treatment for ED — suffered from an undiagnosed impairment of blood glucose control. Researchers defined glucose impairment as a fasting blood glucose reading of 101 milligrams per deciliter or higher. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) defines prediabetes as a fasting blood glucose reading between 100 and 125 milligrams per deciliter.
These findings make it even more important that medical professionals treating men for erectile dysfunction ensure that these men are subjected to comprehensive metabolic work-ups to screen for prediabetes as well as more advanced forms of the disorder.
For the most recent Italian study, published in a May 2019 supplement to The Journal of Urology, researchers analyzed data from 681 men who were seeking initial treatment for symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Researchers eliminated from consideration 92 of these men who had previously received some diabetes-related diagnosis.
Men Divided into 2 Groups
This left a cohort of 589 men, 171 of whom were found to be suffering from either prediabetes or full-blown type 2 diabetes. The 171 men suffering from some degree of diabetes were assigned to group 1, while the remaining 418 men were assigned to group 2, the control group.
While both groups were comparable in terms of comorbid conditions, smoking, and alcohol consumption, men in group 1 had lower median testosterone levels than those in group 2. Men in group 1 also scored lower on both the erectile function and orgasmic function portions of the International Index of Erectile Function questionnaire.
ED May Be More Severe in Diabetic Men
Researchers also found that severe erectile dysfunction was much more common among men in group 1 than in those of group 2. These findings not only established a strong link between glycemic impairment and ED but also appeared to suggest that ED symptoms were more severe among men who suffered from some form of glycemic impairment.
An earlier study, published in the August 2018 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, showed that roughly one in every five men seeking first-time care for ED suffered from prediabetes. Many of the researchers in the earlier study also participated in the more recent one as well.
Greater Awareness Vital
This strong link between impaired control of blood sugar levels and ED suggests that men with either disorder need to be keenly aware of their risk for the other.
According to the Centers for Disease Control of Prevention, roughly 30 million Americans are living with diabetes, while another 84 million can be considered prediabetic, according to ADA guidelines.
Fortunately for those who have not yet crossed the threshold into full-blown diabetes, some commonsense lifestyle changes can help them to fight back against the threat and conceivably shed the diagnosis of prediabetes as well.
Registered dietitian Hillary Wright, author of The Prediabetes Diet Plan, told U.S. News & World Report that the best ways to normalize blood sugar levels is to lose weight and exercise regularly. And healthy eating can go a long way toward accomplishing that first goal.
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