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The connection between erectile dysfunction and type 2 diabetes explained

by , 08 December 2016
The connection between erectile dysfunction and type 2 diabetes explained
Is it just erectile dysfunction, or is it your body trying to tell you that you've got type 2 diabetes? Although erectile dysfunction and diabetes are two totally separate conditions, they tend to go hand-in-hand...

According to research, when a man under the age of 45 years old develops erectile dysfunction, it's usually a symptom of type 2 diabetes. Other studies have found that men diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are two to three times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction.

Let's take a more in-depth look at the connection between erectile dysfunction and type 2 diabetes as well as the many factors that can increase a man's risk for experiencing complications from diabetes...

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse reported a strong link between erectile dysfunction and type 2 diabetes

First things first – what is erectile dysfunction? Simply put, it’s a man’s inability to achieve or maintain an erection. And old age and low libido aren’t the only two causes of erectile dysfunction – it can also be a symptom of health problems like stress, smoking, medication, high blood pressure, kidney disease and nervous system or circulatory conditions.
According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, men who have type 2 diabetes are at high risk for erectile dysfunction. In fact, according to this organisation, between 20 and 75% of men with type 2 diabetes suffer from erectile dysfunction! So if you’re a man experiencing erectile dysfunction, you should consider diabetes as a possible cause.

Type 2 diabetes can also cause retrograde ejaculation, urologic issues and autonomic nervous system damage in men

Men with type 2 diabetes may also face retrograde ejaculation, which results in some semen being released directly into the bladder. One way to tell if you’re suffering from retrograde ejaculation is to see if you’re releasing less semen than usual during ejaculation. 

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Urologic issues are another health issue that men with type 2 diabetes are at risk of. Urologic issues are common in diabetics because type 2 diabetes damages your nerves. Such issues may include an overactive bladder, urinary tract infections (UTIs) or the inability to control urination.
Lastly, type 2 diabetes can harm a man’s autonomic nervous system (ANS). Down the line, this can cause sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction. This is because your ANS controls the constricting or widening of your blood vessels, so when it’s injured by diabetes, your blood vessels in body parts like your genitals become damaged, too. The result? Slow blood flow to the genitals, which is a common cause of erectile dysfunction in men with type 2 diabetes.

Simple blood tests can help men diagnose type 2 diabetes

Talking honestly with your doctor about erectile dysfunction and other sexual or urologic health problems is important. A simple blood test can help you diagnose type 2 diabetes. Plus, looking into what’s causing you erectile dysfunction can help you discover other undiagnosed health problems.

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If you’re concerned about developing type 2 diabetes, you should take note that the following factors increase your risk:
  • You’re overweight;
  • You smoke;
  • You don’t exercise regularly;
  • You suffer from high blood pressure;
  • You have high cholesterol; and
  • You’re older than 40.
By maintaining a healthy body weight, quitting smoking, exercising regularly and eating a diet rich in whole foods, you’ll effectively prevent the onset of diabetes.
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