Diabetes and erectile dysfunction link

The long term devastating effects that diabetes can have for it’s sufferer are now widely known. The condition can lead to a stroke, heart disease, damage to the retina and possible blindness, kidney failure, and diabetes accelerates atherosclerosis (the formation of fatty plaques inside the arteries which can result in blockages/clots and then a heart attack).

Such problems are the result of usually when diabetes is left uncontrolled and blood sugar levels are not properly maintained, most commonly in adults with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when insufficient insulin is produced by the body for it to function properly, or when the body’s cells do not react to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. The disease is far more common than type 1, and around 90% of adults with diabetes, have the type 2 strain of the disease which has roughly 2.8million sufferers in the UK alone.

Dr. Madeleine Castellanos is a certified psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of sexual dysfunction and the improvement of sex life for couples or individuals. She has written a detailed article on her website in which she explains the connection between erectile dysfunction and diabetes. “Good sexual functioning depends on good blood flow and the ability to not only perceive sensations, but to have the organs and tissues respond to these sensations.  When a person’s blood sugar is high, cells cannot function properly and nerve endings become damaged.  This can cause numbness, or worse – uncomfortable tingling.  Having uncontrolled levels of blood sugar also causes damage to the blood vessels in the form of decreased ability to relax and contract when needed as well as increased atherosclerosis decreasing blood flow.”

She further comments “Ways that nerve damage manifests for someone with diabetes could be a decreased sensation in their genitals.  When this happens, it becomes more difficult to become aroused when touched or stroked.  Impaired blood flow commonly causes erectile dysfunction in men and lack of lubrication or difficulty reaching orgasm in women.  To make matters worse, patients with diabetes have a poorer response to medications for erectile dysfunction.” Dr. Castellanos also says in her article that she believes diabetics should keep their blood sugar level between 80 and 125 instead of trying to maintain the level of under 150 or 180 if they have had the disease for a while.

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