Let’s face it, erectile dysfunction, or ED as it is known in the radio commercials, is not a good thing.
For us men, back in the late teens, twenties or thirties there could be few things less desirable. For some reason, though, as we age it becomes almost acceptable for erectile dysfunction. Maybe it’s because, along with the ED comes a lack of sexual desire, making the ED really a secondary problem.
If you listen to the commercials (which I can no longer do since I threw the radio out the window in frustration) about erectile dysfunction you will be convinced that testosterone deficiency, or low T syndrome, is the cause of ED.
Here’s the real truth.
Erectile dysfunction is cardiovascular disease. Period. An erection is all about controlling blood flow. If blood flow is poor an erection is not going to happen.
This can be due to poor vascular reactivity (aka endothelial dysfunction) where the blood vessels cannot open and close when needed or it can be more advanced where the blood vessels that are supposed to fill the penis with blood are full of plaque (atherosclerosis).
This means that both the short and long term answer for ED needs to focus on the health of your blood vessels (aka vascular health).
Considering that diabetes is so incredibly bad for your blood vessels, the findings of this particular study looking at the relationship between ED and diabetes should come as no surprise. In it, researchers looked at 220 Type 2 diabetic to see how common erectile dysfunction was and whether depression or anxiety played any additional role.
The questionnaires used were the IIEF (International Index of Erectile Function), SAS (self-rating anxiety scale) and SDS (self-rating depression scale) to assess whether and how much these situations were present. Here’s what they found:
- 52.9% of the patients were affected by erectile dysfunction.
- In those diabetics who spent less time with their HbA1c levels below 7% (indicating that they were better controlled) over a two year period had a lower likelihood of ED. The reverse was also true.
- Patients with ED had higher levels of triglycerides and fasting insulin.
- Resistin (a hormone released by the abdominal fat that has been linked to prediabetes and diabetes) levels were higher in patients with ED.
- Free testosterone was lower in patients affected by ED (remember that this is just ONE other problem and NOT the cause of the ED).
- Depression and anxiety were not related to the risk of ED.
Over half of the diabetic patients had erectile dysfunction. Half.
There are VERY few diabetic patients who cannot drastically improve their health with the right dietary choices, exercise program and attention to simple things like drinking out of plastic water bottles. Many of the diabetics I come across knowingly and willingly make less-than-ideal choices.
If it was me, I would have to balance these lifestyle choices against the risk of developing ED. Can’t say not exercising on a regular basis or eating that 2nd serving at dinner would win out.
If you’re really interested in learning about how you can make better choices, I would strongly suggest checking out my Diabetes eBook by clicking here.