Can Diabetes Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15.5 million men in the US have diabetes, and 1-in-2 of those men have sexual problems caused by diabetes. In fact, erectile dysfunction (ED) can be the first symptom of diabetes—particularly in men ages 45 and younger—even before diabetes is diagnosed. Men who already have diabetes may experience ED 10 – 15 years earlier than men without diabetes. Although ED is common and affects men of all races, African-American men seem to be hardest hit.

Erectile dysfunction is a condition in which you are unable to get or keep an erection firm enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse. You have ED when you can get an erection sometimes, but not every time you want to have sex; you can get an erection, but it does not last long enough for sexual satisfaction, or you are unable to get an erection at any time.
Diabetic neuropathy—damage to the nerves in the body, can cause ED. Neuropathy is a complication of diabetes caused by high blood glucose levels and high levels of fats, such as triglycerides in the blood. Poor diabetes control can damage the nerves and blood vessels in the body. Nerve damage and poor blood flow to the penis can lead to difficulty with arousal and the ability to get and maintain a rigid erection.

Your chances of developing diabetic neuropathy also increase if you are over the age of 40, have high blood pressure or kidney disease, are overweight, physically inactive, abuse alcohol, or smoke. Certain medications, psychological factors, and hormonal deficiencies can also cause ED.

Preventing Erectile Dysfunction
The best way to prevent diabetic neuropathy is to keep