Impotence in Younger Men Often a Sign of Diabetes

TUESDAY, Aug. 29, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- It's known that older men with type 2 diabetes have higher odds for erectile dysfunction, or ED. Now, new research suggests problems in the bedroom for younger men may signal undiagnosed prediabetes or diabetes.

Researchers found that men 40 and younger with ED have about a one-third increased risk for prediabetes or full-blown type 2 diabetes compared to men without impotence.

The results indicate younger patients with ED should be screened for diabetes, they say.

“This indicates a remarkable ability to predict the potential onset of illness and treat it early with lifestyle or medication,” study co-author Dr. Jane Tucker said in a school news release. She's an associate professor of family and community medicine at Saint Louis University.

For the study, Tucker and her colleagues looked at the electronic health data of more than 1.9 million male patients from 2008 to 2022 and examined the links between these two conditions, at a time when 2.5% of the U.S. population has persistent, undiagnosed diabetes.

Narrowing it down to men aged 18 to 40, the researchers found that ED patients had a 34% increased risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Additionally, 75% of patients developed prediabetes or type 2 diabetes within a year of ED diagnosis.

The prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes declined from 1988 to 2020 in the United States. Yet about 8.5 million adults have undiagnosed diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 25% of these cases are in people ages 18 to 44.

Untreated, diabetes can have serious, life-threatening consequences. However, the disease can be controlled with medication and lifestyle changes.

The study findings appear in the September issue of Preventive Medicine.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on erectile dysfunction.

SOURCE: Saint Louis University, news release, Aug. 25, 2023

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