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Diabetes, Impotence, and Viagra

Approximately 8.7 million, or 8.7% of all men over the age of 20 in the United States have diabetes. The most life-threatening consequences of diabetes are heart disease and stroke, which strike people with diabetes more than twice as often as they do others. Other complications of diabetes include blindness, impotence, kidney disease, and amputations. Millions of men suffer from impotence, and it is more common among men with diabetes than others. While it is estimated that 15-25% of men experience erectile dysfunction by the age of 65, it has been reported to affect 50-60% of men with diabetes over the age of 50.

How Diabetes related to Impotence?

The most common cause of impotence in men with diabetes is damage to his nervous system. Nerves carry messages back and forth between the brain and other parts of the body. All of your nerves together make up the nervous system. Some nerves tell the brain what is happening in the body. For example, when you step on a tack, the nerve in your foot tells the brain about the pain. Other nerves tell the body what to do. For example, nerves from the brain tell your stomach when it is time to move food into your intestines.

The nervous system has four main parts--cranial, central, peripheral, and autonomic. All these nerves goes to different organs of your body. Out of these Autonomic nerves go from your spinal cord to your lungs, heart, stomach, intestines, bladder, and sex organs.

Diabetes can damage the peripheral, autonomic, and cranial nerves. Having high blood glucose for many years can damage the blood vessels that bring oxygen to some nerves. High blood glucose can also hurt the covering on the nerves. Damaged nerves may stop sending messages. Or they may send messages too slowly or at the wrong times.

Diabetic neuropathy (ne-ROP-uh-thee) is the medical term for damage to the nervous system from diabetes. As Autonomic nerves go to the penis, Damage to these nerves can prevent a man's penis from getting firm when he wants to have sex. This condition is called erectile dysfunction or impotence (IM-po-tents). Many men who have had diabetes for many years experience it.

Viagra and Impotence:

Viagra has been tested and found effective in men with diabetes. Viagra works by helping to relax the smooth muscles in the penis during sexual stimulation, allowing increased blood flow. In an early study involving 21 patients, use of Viagra improved the quality of erections in 48% receiving the 25 mg dose and 52% of those receiving 50 mg. A larger study of 268 men with diabetes found improved erections in 56% of those receiving Viagra. These results compare to ranges of 65% to 88% percent improvement reported by men without diabetes.

Apart from Viagra you can directly control impotence by preventing nerve damage, here it is how Keep your blood glucose as close to normal as you can. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Don't smoke. Tell your doctor if you have problems when you have sex.

For More information:

To find a diabetes teacher near you, call the American Association of Diabetes Educators toll-free at 1-800-TEAMUP4 (1-800-832-6874), or look on the Internet at and click on "Find a Diabetes Educator."

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