Hypogonadism, erectile dysfunction, and type 2 diabetes mellitus: what the clinician needs to know.
Testosterone levels and erectile function are known to decline as men age, leading to hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction (ED). Men with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have a particularly high prevalence of hypogonadism and ED. This population also has an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, as well as exposure to other metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity. Several professional societies have recommended screening men with T2DM for testosterone deficiency. Hypogonadism is generally suspected when morning levels for total testosterone are < 300 ng/dL and clinical signs and symptoms typically associated with androgen deficiency are present. While hypogonadism and ED have emerged as predictors of cardiovascular disease and may respond to the lifestyle changes commonly recommended for patients with diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, the literature on whether treatment with testosterone supplementation affects outcomes beyond well-being and sexual function is still emerging. Primary care providers should be aware of this dysmetabolic cluster affecting their male patients and its importance, and, given the common occurrence of hypogonadism, ED, and T2DM, diagnosis of 1 of these conditions should elicit inquiry into the other 2 conditions.
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