Erectile Dysfunction Doubles Diabetes Risk

August 11, 2015
Mark L. Fuerst

ED may raise the risk of diabetes, coffee may lower it, and the evidence against sugary drinks continues to mount.

Middle-age men with erectile dysfunction (ED) may be at increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). Coffee drinking may reduce the risk of DM by dint of its anti-inflammatory effects. And there’s new evidence that regular consumption of sugary drinks is associated with type 2 DM.


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ED and Diabetes Linked in Middle-age Men

• The risk of DM may be twice as great in men who have ED as in men who do not, according to the results of a new cross-sectional study.

• Researchers collected data for 4500 men, age 20 years and older, who participated in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2001 through 2004.

• The men answered a single validated question about ED.

• The researchers used logistic regression analyses to investigate the relationship between ED and undiagnosed hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and DM.


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Middle-age Men Need Screening for ED

• No association was seen for undiagnosed hypertension or undiagnosed hypercholesterolemia.

• For the average man aged 40 to 59 years, the predicted probability of having undiagnosed DM increased from 1 in 50 in the absence of ED to 1 in 10 in the presence of ED.

• The researchers suggested that men with ED should see their doctors to ensure they are properly screened for DM and that physicians be vigilant in obtaining sexual histories in middle-aged men and screening those with ED for DM.


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Coffee Drinking May Reduce Diabetes Risk

• Coffee drinking may reduce the risk of DM by mediating oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers, according to an observational study.

• Researchers selected a random sample of more than 3000 men and women age 18 years and older who filled out dietary questionnaires, including questions about coffee drinking frequency.

• Blood tests measured levels of inflammatory markers and antioxidant levels.


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Coffee Drinking Has Anti-inflammatory Effects

• At 10-year follow-up, 191 incident cases of DM were documented (incidence: men, 13.4%; women, 12.4%).

• After various adjustments, the odds of developing DM was 54% lower in persons who consumed 250 mL of coffee (about 1.5 cups daily) than in abstainers.

• The risk of DM was greater in those who had higher serum amyloid-A levels, an inflammatory marker.

• The anti-inflammatory effects of several coffee components may protect against the development of DM.


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More Research Links Sugary Drinks with Type 2 DM

• More evidence shows that continued consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages leads to a greater likelihood of developing type 2 DM.

• An international team of researchers set out to assess whether habitual consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, artificially sweetened drinks, or fruit juice was associated with the incidence of type 2 DM.

• They conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 17 studies to estimate the 10-year risk attributable to sugar-sweetened drinks in the US and UK.


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2 Million New Cases of Diabetes in US from Sugary Beverages

• The researchers estimated that 2 million new cases of type 2 DM would occur in the US and 80,000 new cases in the UK between 2010 and 2020 related to the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

• After adjustments for body weight, even for thin or normal weight persons, 1 sugary drink per day was associated with a 13% increased risk of type 2 DM.

• The association between artificially sweetened drinks or fruit juice and type 2 DM was less evident.

• The researchers suggested that substituting sugar-sweetened drinks with artificially sweetened drinks or fruit juice is unlikely to be the best strategy in reducing the risk of type 2 DM. Water or other unsweetened beverages are better options.


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Take-home Messages:

• ED should be a trigger to initiate DM screening, particularly among middle-aged men.

• Coffee may play a role in decreasing inflammation that increases the risk of DM.

• Habitual consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages may lead to a substantial number of cases of new-onset type 2 DM.