Sexual dysfunction may indicate heart disease in men.

Sexual dysfunction may be a marker of cardiovascular disease in men with longstanding type one diabetes, announced investigators at the 72nd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Background

Sara Turek, MPH, and her colleagues studied the connections between sexual dysfunction and clinical markers of vascular disease in a study of 301 men. All of the men involved in the study were also part of the 50-Year Medalist Study. In other words, they have had type one diabetes for more than fifty years. Turek is a coordinator for the study that is currently being conducted at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

In prior studies, only half of the Medalist population was shown to be affected by diabetic nephropathy, retinopathy, and neuropathy. Those are all complications that appear in almost all type one diabetic patients thirty years post-diagnosis.

Research has shown that participants in the Medalist Study have maintained good long-term glycemic control in the long run.

The study

At the beginning of the study, Turek commented, "We have noticed that while sexual dysfunction is a common complaint among male Medalists that significantly impairs their quality of life, there is a paucity of data on sexual dysfunction in men with long-duration type 1 diabetes."

All in all, over 210 male Medalists (or 69.8%) had sexual dysfunction. This was determined by an affirmative response to the question: "Have you ever had sexual problems?"

Patients who demonstrated sexual issues had an A1c of 7.1% (blood glucose average of 176 mg/dl) as opposed to the remainder of men who had no issues with 6.8% A1cs (blood glucose average of 165 mg/dl). The patients with sexual issues also showed a higher BMI and cholesterol count.

A history of cigarette smoking was also associated with prevalence of sexual dysfunction. In fact, those who smoked had a 51.7% chance of developing sexual dysfunction.

Conclusion

Sara Turek summarized,

"The clinical message is that sexual dysfunction might be a more overt sign of cardiovascular issues or future cardiovascular issues than other clinical markers of cardiovascular disease symptoms such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis. So if a patient presents with a complaint of sexual dysfunction, the physician may want to screen for cardiovascular problems since erectile dysfunction may be a predictor of increased cardio metabolic risk in aging men."

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