New Delhi: Diabetes is emerging as a leading cause of erectile dysfunction among Indian men. A recent study says that nearly half of Indian men above the age of 40 years suffering from the condition are diabetic. The study conducted by Alpha One Andrology Group - an association of doctors dealing in sex-related problems in men - took into account nearly 2,500 Indian men suffering from erectile dysfunction. "The analysis revealed that 48 percent of men suffering from erectile dysfunction above the age of 40 are diabetic. Diabetes and erectile dysfunction go hand in hand and the results are alarming as over 50 million Indians are diabetic," Anup Dhir, reconstruction surgeon and andrologist, told IANS.
According to doctors, India is the diabetes capital of the world and correspondingly exhibits a high incidence of erectile dysfunction but they are not reported due to stigma attached to it. "The causes of erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes are complex and involve impairments in nerve, blood vessel, and muscle function. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves that control erection," said Dhir.
Men who have diabetes are thought to develop erectile dysfunction nearly 10 to 15 years earlier than men who do not suffer from the disease. "Diabetes affects multiple organs because it affects the blood vessels and the effects are mediated by decreasing blood flow and oxygen. Erection is a blood based phenomenon and the male organ having small blood vessels is the first to manifest it," he said. Furthermore, people with diabetes frequently take medication to lower blood pressure. Common prescription blood pressure medications like some diuretics and beta blockers are known to cause erectile dysfunction.
"These drugs not only affect and often times suppress the central nervous system but can also cause serious damage to the blood vessels, resulting in permanent erectile dysfunction," C.M. Batra, endocrinologist with Apollo Hospital, told IANS. International surveys have shown that 80 percent of men with diabetes develop erectile dysfunction, compared to only 22-25 percent of the general population. "About 50 percent of men with diabetes will suffer from erectile dysfunction within 10 years of diagnosis," he said.
According to Batra, other primary causes of erectile dysfunction include lifestyle problems like smoking, drinking alcohol, being overweight, taking too little exercise and the other lifestyle factors. "The cause can also be in your medicine cabinet as there are more than 300 medicines including a number of prescription and over-the-counter drugs that can cause erectile dysfunction. While these drugs may treat a disease or condition, in doing so they can affect a man's hormones, nerves, or blood circulation, resulting in erectile dysfunction or increase its risk," said Batra.