Diabetes, Obesity, and Erectile Dysfunction
Diabetes mellitus (DM) and obesity affect large parts of the population in the United States and around the world. These disorders are among the most common risk factors for erectile dysfunction (ED), because of their effects on the vasculature and the hormonal milieu. This article reviews the current literature on the connection between DM, obesity, and ED. Using the search terms erectile dysfunction, endothelial dysfunction, hypogonadism, diabetes, and obesity, a systematic review of the available literature in the PubMed database was conducted. Relevant English-language publications (to August 2008) were identified. ED is highly prevalent in men with both DM and obesity, and may act as a harbinger for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in this high-risk population. In addition to male hypogonadism and macrovascular disease, endothelial dysfunction is central to the connection between the metabolic syndrome and ED. Conversely, improved glycemic control and weight loss have been found to improve erectile function. ED is very prevalent in men with DM and obesity. It is increasingly being recognized as an early clinical indicator and motivator for patients with CVD. The role of pharmacologic ED treatments in improving endothelial function is currently being investigated.