Link Between Sexual Dysfunction And Heart Disease In Diabetic Men Discovered [Study]

Dusten Carlson - Author
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Jun. 15 2013, Updated 9:01 p.m. ET

Sexual dysfunction might be an indicator for heart disease in men with longstanding type 1 diabetes, according to a new study.

Researchers announced a possible link between sexual dysfunction and heart disease in diabetic men at the 72nd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Sarah Turek, MPH, and colleagues examined the link between sexual dysfunction and heart disease in 301 men from an ongoing 50-year study. The men examined in the study have had type 1 diabetes for more than 50 years. They found that the rate of heart disease among type 1 diabetes sufferers is similar to that reported in age-matched patients living with type 2 diabetes, notes MedicalNewsToday.

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The issue that cropped up in the latest analysis concerns sexual dysfunction, which, as-yet, had not been addressed.

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“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,” Turek commented.

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Overall, roughly 210 of those in the study (69.8 percent) experienced sexual dysfunction.

Though sexual dysfunction has multiple causes, especially cigarette smoking, the findings suggested that sexual dysfunction follows the pattern of macrovascular complications as seen within the study group.

Said Turek:

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“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 cardiometabolic risk in aging men.”

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Though another researcher acknowledged a limitation to the study, she was confident in the results.

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“Sure, it’s subjective and open to interpretation but we spend a lot of time with our patients, and we find that they are very willing to share whatever information we request in order to help us in our research. We plan to follow up with a lengthier questionnaire, which we expect the majority of the participants to complete openly and honestly,” she said.

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With more research, the link between sexual dysfunction in men with type 1 diabetes and heart disease will be better understood.

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