Diabetes is a disease where sugar or glucose can’t be properly metabolized for lack of insulin production, or an inability to use what is produced. The disease can cause many serious issues in the body and may even become life threatening. In a recent British newspaper a general practitioner claimed that he would rather have HIV than diabetes, since the treatment options for the former can allow a person a full, healthy life while with the latter needs constant monitoring and care. A high level of glucose in the bloodstream, if not broken down, becomes a poison. Sores, nerve damage, blindness, organ failure, Alzheimer’s and even death may result if diabetes is not properly managed.
One commonly overlooked symptom in men that is more worrisome to them and less so to their doctor is erectile dysfunction. Somewhere between 35% and 75% of men with diabetes experience ED. Glucose can damage the nerves or blood vessels leading to the penis that cause an erection to occur. Damage to these blood vessels may block the release of nitric oxide. This compound dilates the vessels allowing more blood flow, which in turn engorges the penis, forming an erection.
Though ED may sound less impactful after the serious side effects that can occur, medical science has found that a lack of sexual performance can affect a man’s ego, self-esteem, relationships and overall quality of life. Managing diabetes properly can also aid in the management of ED. Getting enough exercise, quitting smoking, arriving at and maintaining a healthy weight, and managing stress, cholesterol and blood pressure are all essential to keeping both of these conditions in check.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s treatment plan for diabetes should you have it. For ED there are lots of treatment options. If nitric oxide is the problem, common ED drugs can alleviate it. These release the compound into the system at the proper time, allowing an erection to occur. Injections, penile suppositories, a vacuum tube and other treatment options are also available. If you are experiencing ED, address it with a doctor right away to make sure it isn’t stemming from diabetes or another serious condition.