Findings of a new study have provided strong evidence suggesting that type 2 diabetes may cause erectile dysfunction in men.
Type 2 Diabetes And Erectile Dysfunction
In a study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics on Dec. 20, Anna Murray, of the University of Exeter Medical School, and colleagues looked at the data of more than 220,000 men, about 6,000 of whom had erectile dysfunction.
The researchers wanted to see what conditions of genetic traits predispose people to erectile dysfunction.
They found that those with high risk factor score for type 2 diabetes are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. The researchers, however, did not find a strong link between erectile dysfunction and high risk factor scores for the other conditions that they looked at namely obesity and heart disease.
Evidence Suggests Causal Link
Murray said that the findings provide evidence strong enough to suggest of a causal link between the two conditions. She explained that while erectile dysfunction and diabetes may seem unrelated, the latter can cause nerve damage and problems with blood vessels that can affect a man's ability to maintain an erection.
Murray said it may either be a strike of "bad luck" or they needed a larger sample size of participants that they did not find a link between erectile dysfunction and higher BMI or heart disease.
Type 2 diabetes has long been associated with erectile dysfunction but not on a genetic level. Researchers thought that the association may be due to obesity and other issues that occur alongside diabetes.
The findings of the study suggest that type 2 diabetes is likely a cause of erectile dysfunction and that management of type 2 diabetes may lower risk for the condition.
"These findings provide insights into the biological underpinnings and the causes of ED and may help prioritize the development of future therapies for this common disorder," the researchers wrote in their study.
Healthy Lifestyle To Reduce Risks
Adopting a healthy diet and engaging in exercise can help manage type 2 diabetes and this can also influence one's risk for erectile dysfunction.
"We found that a genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes is linked to erectile dysfunction," Murray said. "That may mean that if people can reduce their risk of diabetes through healthier lifestyles, they may also avoid developing erectile dysfunction."