Understanding Erectile Dysfunction in Type 2 Diabetes Patients

Understanding Erectile Dysfunction

diabetes_and_EDAbout 50% of men between the ages of 40-70years old have erectile dysfunction (ED), which is the inability to have or keep an erection for satisfactory intercourse. Although ED is thought to be a symptom of male aging, there are many different causes; from certain risk factors, medical conditions, and even medications you may be taking.

Risk Factors: There are certain risk factors or social habits that may contribute to ED. Smoking decreases blood flow to the penis, decreasing the ability of having an erection. Excessive alcohol intake can cause liver damage, decreased androgen (male hormone), and peripheral neuropathy (damage to your nerves). Leading an inactive lifestyle can also be contributory. In a study, it was shown that men improved their ED with moderate weight loss and increased regular exercise. If you are experiencing ED, it is important to quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption to decrease further damage done to your blood vessels and nerves.

Medical Conditions: Medical conditions may also contribute to ED. Patients who have had uncontrolled type 1 or 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing ED as well as other complications. Having consistently high blood sugars can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves in your body. This damage can increase the risk of developing ED. Depression or anxiety can decrease your desire to engage in sexual intercourse, therefore causing ED. High blood pressure (hypertension), hormonal issues (hypogonadism), or blood vessel diseases (atherosclerosis, high cholesterol) can all cause or contribute to ED. Controlling these disease states can help improve symptoms or even resolve ED.

Medications:Medications are responsible for about 10-25% of ED cases. If you are experiencing ED, it is important to know which medications may be the culprit. Blood pressure medications like diuretics (hydrochlorothiazide, spironolactone) and beta blockers (metoprolol) can cause or worsen ED. Talk to your doctor about switching to a different blood pressure medication. ACE inhibitors (e.g. lisinopril), ARB’s (e.g. losartan) or CCB’s (e.g. amlodipine) are less likely to cause or worsen ED. Some antidepressants (e.g. SSRIs) or allergy medications (e.g. diphenhydramine) can also cause ED.

Besides correcting uncontrolled disease states and changing or eliminating medications that cause ED, it can be treated with medications known as phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors (e.g. Viagra, Cialis, Levitra). There are also many all natural solutions to ED if a prescription medication are not right for you.

If you think you have ED, talk to your provider about potential causes and lifestyle changes or medication adjustments that can make before considering treatment options. Having good blood sugar and blood pressure control as well as good cholesterol levels are of the utmost importance. Quit smoking, limit your alcohol intake and get some purposeful exercise.

This article is brought to you by our guest writers:
Sandra Rumyantsev, PharmD Candidate‎ MCPHS University 2016
Jennifer Goldman, PharmD, CDE, BC-ADM, FCCP‎
Professor of Pharmacy Practice, SOP-Boston, MCPHS University
Clinical Pharmacist, Well Life, Peabody, MA

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