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SLU Research: Erectile Dysfunction Linked to Undiagnosed Prediabetes, Type 2 Diabetes in Young Men

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is more common in older individuals with long-term Type 2 diabetes. However, emerging research at Saint Louis University School of Medicine has found that ED indicates undiagnosed prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in young men under 40.

In a recent study published in Preventive Medicine, Jane Tucker, M.D., associate professor of family and community medicine at SLU, and Jeffrey Scherrer, Ph.D., professor of family and community medicine at SLU and a member of the Saint Louis University AHEAD Institute, examined data to look at the connection between type 2 diabetes and ED.  

Researchers designed the study to determine the risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes among young men with and without new ED diagnoses and the time between a new ED diagnosis and the onset of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

This retrospective study reviewed the electronic health data of 1,915,468 patients from 2008-22.  

The study found that ED patients have a 34% increased risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Additionally, 75% of patients developed prediabetes or type 2 diabetes within a year of ED diagnosis.

“This indicates a remarkable ability to predict the potential onset of illness and treat it early with lifestyle or medication,” Tucker said.

Funds to maintain the virtual data warehouse came from the Saint Louis University Research Institute, comprising de-identified patient data from more than 5 million SSM Health patients. Researchers at SLU’s AHEAD Institute maintained the data resource and supported the study through analytics and data management. Saint Louis University is a Health Care Systems Research Network (HCSRN) member. HCSRN and its health-system members provide an exponential increase in opportunities for grant funding and collaboration on various research topics such as aging, heart disease, and mental health.

Other authors include Joanne Salas, M.P.H., of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Saint Louis University, Harry S. Truman Veterans Administration Medical Center, Columbia, Missouri, and the Advanced HEAlth Data (AHEAD) Research Institute at SLU; Scott Secrest, M.P.H., of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Saint Louis University.