Awareness, Education, Prevention
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. This means we are trying to raise awareness about diabetes, as well as encourage patients to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Many cases of diabetes and its complications can be prevented by a nutritious diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy body weight and avoiding tobacco use.
Diabetes is a serious condition. Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body does not produce insulin, a hormone that helps your body digest glucose (sugar). People with type 2 diabetes don’t use insulin effectively.
Key Facts About Diabetes
- 30 million Americans have diabetes
- 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes
- Diabetes can cause blindness, limb loss (amputation), erectile dysfunction, hormone dysfunction, and kidney failure
- Diabetes greatly increases the risk of heart disease
- People with diabetes can live long and healthy lives when their diabetes is well managed
- Type 2 diabetes can be prevented
Prevention is Key
Making a few lifestyle changes can help you avoid the serious health complications that can occur with diabetes.
- Stay Physically Active – Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight and can also lower blood sugar levels.
- Eat a Healthy Diet – foods high in fiber, such as vegetables, beans and whole grains, can lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- Drink More Water – Stick with water as your primary beverage, and avoid soda and other sugary drinks.
- Quit Smoking – Smoking not only increases the risk of diabetes, but other serious health conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
Diabetes and Sexual Dysfunction
As men’s health specialists, we see many patients with diabetes. Up to 66% of men with diabetes have erectile dysfunction, and many do not realize that their diabetes is contributing to their erectile problems. In fact, half of all men with diabetes will experience ED within 10 years of their diagnosis. This occurs because high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves that control sexual stimulation. They can also damage blood vessels, which are necessary to provide adequate blood flow to the penis in order to achieve and maintain an erection.
Many patients are not aware that ED can be a symptom of underlying diabetes. This is why we also have quite a few men come in to be seen for ED, and end up being diagnosed with diabetes after routine blood work. To learn about the treatment options available for erectile dysfunction, click here.
Diabetes can also result in low testosterone levels, likely because of damage to the testicles, similar to the damage to erectile function described above. Low testosterone can result in decreased libido and can further contribute to erectile dysfunction, as well as other issues such as decreased bone density, and potentially cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes and Infertility
Diabetes can also negatively impact a man’s fertility. The autonomic neuropathy that can be associated with diabetes can lead to issues such as retrograde ejaculation and anejaculation. We may also see abnormally low sperm parameters in men with uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes on a semen analysis. For this reason, if you are having difficulty conceiving, it is best to seek care with a urologist specially trained in male fertility.
If you are unaware of your risk for type 2 diabetes, you can take a Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test from the ADA. We also encourage you to schedule regular check-ups with your doctor. If you have diabetes and are experiencing symptoms of erectile dysfunction or have fertility concerns, contact Utah Men’s Health today.