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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sex Ed: Diabetic Dilemma

By Jim Larkins

In past columns, we’ve mentioned the far-reaching negative impact that diabetes can have on the body, particularly causing erectile dysfunction (ED). What we’ve neglected to cover, however, is that state during which such a dreaded phallic fate can be circumvented.

Individuals with type-2 diabetes almost always experience a precursor to the disease, known as prediabetes—blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be considered diabetes. In fact, this diabetic forerunner plagues more than 70 million people in the Unites States, giving it the dubious distinction of “America’s largest health care epidemic.” With those statistics, it can easily be assumed that many of you reading this column could be part of the ever-growing sector of the population suffering from prediabetes without even knowing it.

Prediabetes is more than just a red flag warning of impending diabetic doom. Researchers have recently come to the conclusion that the condition may cause some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system. These are the exact symptoms that can eventually lead to ED. However, the prediabetic period is also the time to turn things around before one reaches the diabetic point of no return.

Obesity is a common contributor to prediabetes, so weight loss is a must for anyone who plans to ward off the disease. Losing as little as five to 10 percent of one’s total body weight can have a significant bearing on overall health.

A strenuous exercise program is another preventative weapon in the battle against prediabetes. Health care experts suggest a routine that consists of 45 minutes of exercise per day, five days a week.

Of course, if you do suffer from prediabetes, it’s likely that your dietary habits are what got you to this point. Therefore, it is by changing what you eat that you will have the best chances at conquering the disorder. Healthy meals consisting of low-fat, low-sugar and low-salt foods are on the suggested menu.

Of course, when it comes down to that late-night munchie attack, you might need something more than a possible long-term health threat to feed your will-power. Therefore, keep in mind cock-blocking gremlins like insulin resistance are right around the corner, threatening to send your erection into a downward spiral of flaccidity

Insulin resistance, which causes an overabundance of insulin in the bloodstream, injures the endothelium (the layer just inside blood vessels). The damaged endothelium can then fail to produce nitric oxide, which is a must-have for vascular dilation. Considering that vascular dilation is basically what feeds the lifeblood of an erection, the whole thing can spell disaster for your dick.

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