Type 2 diabetes is a growing concern in America. The disease affects more than 25.8 million Americans, with more than 40 percent unaware of their risk and 7 million who are living with the disease, yet remain undiagnosed.
Diabetes is commonly associated with weight gain, blindness, and even the loss of limbs, if left untreated. If never properly addressed, diabetes can be a fatal condition, ranking number seven among the top causes of death in the United States. The most well understood treatment options for diabetes are insulin therapy, routine fitness, and dietary changes. However, what most people don’t realize is the impact type 2 diabetes can have on testosterone levels in men.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) reports that men are two times more likely to suffer from low testosterone than men without diabetes—a fact that has spurred more than a decade of research examining the potential correlation between diabetes and low testosterone. Although a correlation is shown to exist, the “why” and “how” of the connection remain a mystery.
Scientists are struggling with an age-old problem when it comes to establishing a link between the two conditions; it’s a matter of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Researchers have been unable to find an origin for the connection. Does diabetes causes low testosterone or does low testosterone lead to diabetes? Or, are the two conditions independent health complications that coexist, leading to an adverse sequence of reactions? More time, more money, and more research are needed to fully discover why these conditions occur in tandem in many men.
Diabetes and the American Male
According to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetes is a growing issue among men in America, with nearly 12 percent of men aged 20 or older being diagnosed with the disease.
Men who suffer from type 2 diabetes experience challenges metabolizing glucose (blood sugar) due to poor insulin production or resistance to insulin. The effects of low testosterone, related to diabetes, will also cause these men to suffer from low libido, erectile dysfunction (ED), reduced muscle mass, depression, moodiness, and fatigue.
Improvements with Testosterone Therapy
The good news is that men suffering from type 2 diabetes can reclaim control of many aspects of their health, including those associated with low testosterone levels.
A 2006 study, published in the European Journal of Endocrinology, found that testosterone replacement therapy reduces insulin resistance and improves glycemic control in hypogonadal men with type 2 diabetes. Testosterone therapy, in conjunction with dietary changes and routine fitness, can help men with type 2 diabetes achieve improvements in glycemic control, insulin resistance, cholesterol, and visceral adiposity. These benefits further reduce complications that often cause diabetes to turn fatal, such as heart disease.
Another more recent study, published in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that the sexual health effects of type 2 diabetes and low testosterone levels in men may also be treated with hormone therapy. The results of the study concluded that with testosterone therapy treatment, men with type 2 diabetes may see improvements in erectile function, intercourse satisfaction, sexual desire, and total satisfaction with sex, as well as experience lower rates of depression.
Men suffering from type 2 diabetes must practice diligence with their healthcare to optimize outcomes, protecting not only their health, but their quality of life as well.
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