Diabetes, Erectile Dysfunction, Heart Disease Share Common Link - 8 News NOW

Diabetes, Erectile Dysfunction, Heart Disease Share Common Link

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Erectile dysfunction could be a warning sign of heart disease. And diabetes increases the risk of both according to new research.

In this Dealing with Diabetes report, we hear why guys need to be more open about this sensitive problem.

Las Vegas diabetic and community health activist, Carlos Ramirez says men seeking information about type-2 diabetes are open about most aspects of their condition -- but not about erectile dysfunction, despite being commonly talked about in T.V. commercials.

"I go, you guys want to talk about this. No, no. If you bring this up, I'm going to walk away from this. I go -- this needs to be brought up. It's a sad thing, but it's happening -- especially more nowadays. I guess because now people are now starting to be aware," said Ramirez.

Diabetes, erectile dysfunction and heart disease share a common link -- damage to the blood vessels caused by high blood sugar levels. The same process that hinders the extra blood flow needed to maintain an erection can have consequences in the heart.

And Las Vegas cardiologist, Keith Boman says one problem could be an indication of the other. "People who tend to have diabetes develop vascular disease or they develop what we call arteriolosclerosis. And arteriolosclerosis affects the circulation in the heart -- also in the genitals and can cause erectile dysfunction."

Dr. Boman says E.D. can have many underlying causes and may not be a sign of diabetes or heart disease. But still, he suggests that guys be open about it with their doctor -- just in case.

"From the vascular side, how is the vascular supply to the pelvis? Is it normal? If it's not normal, why is it not normal. And frequently, those folks where it's not normal have diabetes," said Dr. Boman.

Since smoking is also a risk factor for arteriolosclerosis, diabetics who smoke are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction and heart disease.

To see the most recent studies on this topic, click here.

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