KUALA LUMPUR: Men who are diagnosed with diabetes have a 3.5 times higher risk of developing Erectile Dysfunction (ED) due to vascular and nerve damage compared to non-diabetic patients.
Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV) Consultant Urologist, Dr Goh Cheng Hood, said after the age of 40, 10 per cent of men develop ED, and as age increases, the risk would also be high.
"Getting an erection involves increased blood flow in arteries and reduced blood flow out of veins.
"Diabetes disrupts this process due to neuropathy, decreased nitric oxide (NO) levels, and increased prothrombin factor, causing reduced blood flow and blood vessel clotting," he said.
He added that the sense of masculinity and self-esteem in men is closely tied to their sexual performance, and this is why ED can have a profound impact on self-confidence and self-worth.
"Twenty-one per cent of male patients with ED experience severe dysfunction. However, this should not deter men from seeking professional help before their condition progresses into a severe form," he said.
Meanwhile, SMCV Consultant Endocrinologist and Internal Medicine Physician, Dr Lim Kim Piow, explained that vessel diseases, dysfunction, and the accumulation of advanced glycation end products result from hyperglycemia.
"This impairs the relaxation of the vascular smooth muscle of the penis and ultimately leads to ED," he said.
Dr Lim added that the emotional consequences of ED are also often underestimated and that it can strain intimate relationships, leading to communication issues and emotional distance between partners.
He also advised patients who suffer from diabetes to get effective diabetes management that involves nutrition, which can control high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
"This diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. It is also advisable to reduce the consumption of processed foods and high-glycemic index (GI) items like white bread, instant noodles, processed meats, and sugary or salty snacks," he said.
Meanwhile, according to the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men are more likely to receive a diagnosis of diabetes than women due to hormonal differences and body fat distribution.
This November, SMCV urges everyone to understand the multifaceted nature of diabetes and how it can affect men's overall well-being, including the potential risk of erectile dysfunction, in conjunction with World Diabetes Day on Nov 14. – BERNAMA