The numbers surrounding diabetes in the United States are incredibly alarming, as more than 34 million adults have already been diagnosed with the chronic disease and 88 million more are considered prediabetic. The road to erectile dysfunction (ED) and the road to diabetes are often paved with the same issues, which is why there’s considerable crossover between the two conditions.
To shed some light on this connection, Dr. Robert Cornell and our team decided to spend a little time in this month’s blog post highlighting the link. Armed with this information, you can better control both your diabetes and ED for better overall health.
An indirect link
Let’s start with the indirect connection between type 2 diabetes and ED, which very much come down to risk factors.
Many of the factors that lead to type 2 diabetes and to ED are the same, including:
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Sleep apnea
Each of these issues influences how well blood flows through your body, which can have a direct impact on your ability to achieve and maintain an erection, as well as how your body responds to insulin.
In fact, these issues are linked so closely that it’s not uncommon for men to develop erectile dysfunction before a diabetes diagnosis, which means the ED was a sign of a much larger developing problem.
A direct link
When you have diabetes, your body becomes insulin-resistant, and you’re unable to produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance. Insulin is critical for controlling the levels of glucose in your bloodstream and, without this regulation, you can develop dangerously high levels of blood sugar.
High levels of glucose for prolonged periods can damage your blood vessels, preventing them from circulating blood properly. As a result, your penis may not be able to receive the amount of blood necessary to achieve an erection.
Another problem that comes with diabetes is nerve damage, which can affect the nerves in your penis.
Maintaining your sexual health when you have diabetes
If you have diabetes and you’re also struggling with sexual function, there are several steps you can take that will improve both conditions.
First and foremost, it’s imperative that you keep your blood sugar levels in check. This means working with your doctor, understanding the numbers, and taking insulin or oral diabetes medication when needed.
There’s also much you can do on your own to mitigate the factors that brought on the diabetes diagnosis in the first place. For example, taking steps to lower your blood pressure, losing weight, and/or becoming more active are all critical for improving your cardiovascular health.
We know these are very broad recommendations, but we’re happy to sit down with you to tailor the right treatment plan for your unique circumstances. This treatment plan will not only be geared toward remedying your ED, it will also go a long way toward better managing your diabetes and preventing even more serious complications, such as heart disease.
To get started on managing your health for better sexual function and more, please contact our office in Houston, Texas, to set up an appointment.