Diabetics: Good Glucose Control Helps with ED

Regular monitoring of your blood glucose levels can help you to manage your diabetes and minimize the damage it can cause.

Men with diabetes — both types 1 and 2 — face a sharply higher risk of erectile dysfunction than nondiabetic males. And millions of American men suffer from one form or the other of the disease.

In type 1 diabetes, which is far less common than type 2 and is usually diagnosed earlier in life, the pancreas produces little or no insulin, which can lead to uncontrollably high blood glucose (sugar) levels.  Type 2, in contrast, is a long-term metabolic disorder characterized by the inability of the body’s fat, muscle, and liver cells to respond normally to insulin, which in turns leads to excessive levels of glucose in the blood. This inability to properly process insulin is known as insulin resistance.

How Diabetes Affects Erectile Function

Diabetes can lead to long-term damage to nerves and blood vessels, both of which play important roles in erectile function. The better your diabetes is managed, the lower your chances of developing ED. Thus, careful monitoring of your blood glucose levels can help you to minimize the damage your disease can do.

Lowering your levels of blood sugar is a good idea even if you have not been diagnosed with diabetes. In a recent column posted at SeattleTimes.com, Joe and Teresa Graedon, authors of “The People’s Pharmacy,” warn that high blood sugar levels can adversely affect vascular health and thus threaten erectile function.

Quench Your Thirst with Water

The Graedons suggest that you quench your thirst with water rather than sugar-sweetened beverages to help keep blood glucose levels down. If you simply must have some sweetness in the beverages you drink, they recommend using stevia, a plant-based sweetener that has no calories. They also note that controlling your intake of foods high in other refined carbohydrates can also help to lower blood sugar levels. Such foods include most pieces of bread, crackers, most cereals, pasta, pizza, breaded and battered foods, croutons, ketchup, most milk substitutes, and sweet wines and liqueurs.

In its “National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 30.3 million Americans were living with diabetes in 2015. Of that total, said the report, 7.2 million, or about a quarter, had not been diagnosed yet.

84 Million Are Prediabetic

In another ominous statistic from the CDC report, it was estimated that more than a third of all American adults 18 and older — just over 84 million people — suffered from prediabetes in 2015. A person is considered prediabetic if his or her blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to meet the diagnostic criteria for diabetes.

According to BottomLineInc.com, symptoms of both prediabetes and diabetes include extreme thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, blurred vision, dry and itchy skin, fatigue, slow-healing cuts, and persistent feelings of hunger.

Other Health Risks of Diabetes

While this article focuses primarily on the importance of controlling your blood glucose levels to protect erectile function, it should be stressed that diabetes can lead to a wide array of other health problems as well. For example, men and women who suffer from both diabetes and high blood pressure, two disorders have often seen together, face a sharply increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

However, if you are experiencing problems getting and keeping an erection suitable for intercourse, Viagra or one of the other oral ED drugs might be able to help. To learn more about the causes of ED and the medications available to treat it, visit eDrugstore.com’s Erectile Dysfunction page.

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