Diabetes is one of the most common causes of ED. Men who have Diabetes are three times more likely to have Erectile Dysfunction than men who do not have Diabetes. Among men with ED, those with Diabetes are likely to have experienced the problem as much as 10 to 15 years earlier than men without Diabetes. A recent study of a clinic population revealed that 5% of the men with ED also had undiagnosed Diabetes. The risk of ED increases with the number of years you have Diabetes and the severity of your Diabetes. Even though 20% to 75% of men with Diabetes have ED, it can be successfully managed in almost all men.
In regards to high blood pressure, this makes the heart work harder to pump blood which can prevent blood flow from reaching the penis and in turn prevent an erection. Recent reports say that close to 2 out of 3 men report a change in the quality of their erections if they have high blood pressure.
It is established that Diabetes affects not only peripheral nerve function but peripheral blood flow as well. The association between Diabetes and ED was first documented in 1978. Men with Diabetes have four main risk factors for ED.
First, diabetes can cause damage to nerves (neuropathy) throughout your body-including the nerves to your penis. Damage to penile nerves can interfere with your body’s ability to send messages to and from the penis, which can lead to ED.
Second, Diabetes can aggravate a condition known as atherosclerosis, in which the blood vessels become narrow or harden. Narrowing or hardening of these blood vessels prevent blood flow into and out of your penis, which can cause ED.
Third, men with Diabetes need to control their blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar is not under control, your body does not produce enough Nitric Oxide (NO) and vascular tissues don’t respond as effectively to NO. When enough blood flows into the penis, penile veins close off and block the blood from flowing out. This process results in an erection. If your body does not produce enough NO or if your penile tissues do not respond to NO, the pressure of the blood flowing into your penis is not sufficient to trap the blood, you penis will not get hard.
Finally, about 12% of all men with Diabetes have low levels of the male hormone testosterone, which is required for normal erectile function.