Kuala Lumpur, Nov 10: With November marking Men’s Health Awareness Month, Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV) aims to spotlight a pressing health issue affecting men more than women: Diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) underscores that men are more frequently diagnosed with diabetes than women, making it a relevant topic as World Diabetes Day approaches on Nov 14.
This article delves into the intricate connection between Type 2 diabetes mellitus and men’s health, with a specific emphasis on how diabetes may contribute to Erectile Dysfunction (ED), impacting men’s overall well-being.
Men and Diabetes: Unpacking the Dynamics Men’s heightened susceptibility to diabetes can be attributed to hormonal differences and body fat distribution. Hormonally, females exhibit a more favorable effect on insulin sensitivity, potentially linked to estrogen.
Dr. Lim Kim Piow, Consultant Endocrinologist and Internal Medicine Physician explains, “Lower testosterone levels in men are associated with a greater risk of Type 2 diabetes.” Additionally, central obesity, where men often carry excess weight around their abdomen, contributes to a higher risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.
ED and Diabetes: Addressing a Subtle Challenge While managing blood sugar is a primary concern in diabetes care, the repercussions of diabetes extend beyond physical aspects. Erectile Dysfunction (ED) emerges as a significant consequence, affecting a man’s overall well-being. Dr. Goh Cheng Hood, Consultant Urologist, highlights the connection, stating, “With the presence of diabetes in men, the risk of developing ED increases 3.5 times compared to non-diabetic patients.”
The intricate process of getting an erection involves disrupted blood flow dynamics due to neuropathy, decreased nitric oxide (NO) levels, and increased prothrombin factor associated with diabetes. ED in diabetes primarily stems from vascular damage and nerve damage, resulting in reduced blood flow and blood vessel clotting in the penis.
The Emotional Impact of ED Beyond physical implications, the emotional consequences of ED are profound and often underestimated. Dr. Goh emphasizes that ED can strain relationships, leading to communication issues and emotional distance between partners. He notes, “For many men, their sense of masculinity and self-esteem is closely tied to their sexual performance, and this is why ED can have a profound impact on self-confidence and self-worth.”
Role of Nutrition in Diabetes Management In supporting effective diabetes management through nutrition, Dr. Lim recommends a well-balanced diet that is low in carbohydrates, sugars, and trans fats while being rich in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients.
Encouraging Dialogue and Seeking Help This November, understanding the multifaceted nature of diabetes and its potential impact on men’s overall well-being, including the risk of ED, is crucial. Dr. Goh and Dr. Lim encourage men to overcome hesitation and share their concerns with medical professionals. In a society where this topic remains sensitive, open and honest conversations foster better diabetes management, serving as a vital tool for public education and reducing the risk of developing ED.
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