Diabetes & Impotence



One per cent of young adult males have diabetes, rising to over three per cent of men aged 65 to 75 and 4.5 per cent of men aged over 75 years. Diabetes mellitus is diagnosed when blood sugar (glucose) levels are consistently raised above a certain level. There are two main types: Type I diabetes, which usually first occurs under the age of 35 years, and Type 2 diabetes, which mainly develops over the age of 40. Type I diabetes usually develops rapidly with weight loss, excessive thirst and excessive production of urine, requiring urgent treatment. Type 2 diabetes tends to come on gradually, however, and often remains undiagnosed. It's most common in people who are obese.

If you are in a risk category and haven't had your urine screened for glucose in the last few years, then you may like to consider arranging to take a sample to the surgery for checking.


Impotence - also known as erectile dysfunction - affects an estimated one in ten men. It becomes more common with increasing age, affecting 40 per cent of men aged 40, and almost 70 per cent of those aged 70. Eighty per cent of all impotence cases have an underlying physical cause such as diabetes, circulatory disease, side effects of medical or surgical treatment, hormone imbalance or nervous system diseases. Psychological causes, such as depression, only account for 20 per cent of cases.

If you have difficulty making love, then be encouraged to seek medical advice. You don't need to feel embarrassed - doctors deal with this sort of problem every day and several new treatments have become available over the last few years.

Impotence facts
- One in 20 males has permanent problems with impotence.
- One in seven suffers from impotence at least once every three months.
- In up to 70 per cent of cases, a physical problem is the cause (for example, tiredness, overworking, stress, drugs, hardening of arteries, diabetes, nerve conduction problems and leaky penile veins).
- In over 90 per cent of cases, a man with impotence can be successfully treated.




The views on this page are those of Dr Sarah Brewer with whose permission the information on these health pages has been reproduced. Harvesters accepts no responsibility for any false or inaccurate information contained within these pages.