Are Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction Linked?
Two very common disorders
Back in 2015, the American Diabetes Association reported that nearly 10% of the U.S. population had diabetes, which is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar is too high. Perhaps even more alarming was the statistic that more than 25% of the U.S. population had prediabetes, which is when your blood sugar is high but not high enough to qualify as diabetes.
The statistics for erectile dysfunction – which is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection – may also surprise you. Nearly 10% of all US men experience erectile dysfunction (also known as ED) on a continuing basis, and nearly all men experience it occasionally – what’s called “transient episodes.”
The connection between ED and diabetes
The short answer to the question is yes, erectile dysfunction and diabetes – at least one form of it – can be linked. Before I explain why, I should give you a little background on diabetes.
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is when your body doesn’t produce insulin, which is the hormone that regulates your blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes is when your body doesn’t respond to insulin as well as it should.
Men with type 2 diabetes often experience erectile dysfunction due to damage that occurs to their nerves and blood vessels, both of which have an effect on your ability to get and stay aroused, as well as the ability to send enough blood to maintain an erection.
The connection between ED and lifestyle choices
For some men, type 2 diabetes runs in the family. But whether or not it runs in the family, type 2 diabetes is more likely to occur when you’re overweight or if you have an inactive lifestyle. And guess what? Being overweight and having an inactive lifestyle can also lead to erectile dysfunction. In fact, obese men are two and a half times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than men of normal weight.
In other words, the same factors that can make it more likely that you’ll get type 2 diabetes can also cause erectile dysfunction. Obesity can lower testosterone and clog your blood vessels, including the ones that help you to achieve and maintain erections. In addition, being overweight can lower your energy levels and your self-esteem, both of which can come back to haunt you in the bedroom.
Erectile dysfunction: The canary in the coalmine
A lot of men who experience erectile dysfunction do so before developing more serious conditions, including heart disease, depression … and type 2 diabetes. So if you’re overweight and you’re having trouble with your erections, you may be on the way to more serious health issues. See your doctor about your overall health, start an exercise program and change your diet. Your benefits may include not just a better sex life, but also a longer and more active lifestyle.