Objective: To gain insight into the effect of blood pressure on the pathophysiology of diabetic erectile dysfunction, we determined the onset, severity and treatment of hypertension and risk of incident erectile dysfunction in men with type I diabetes.
Methods: This prospective cohort study included 692 men without prevalent erectile dysfunction in the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications study. Erectile dysfunction was assessed yearly for 16 years with a single question querying presence of impotence. Multivariable cox proportional hazards models examined associations of hypertension variables with risk for incident erectile dysfunction.
Results: Over 7762 person-years of follow-up, 337 of 692 men reported incident erectile dysfunction representing an unadjusted rate of 43.4 cases per 1000 person-years. Risk of erectile dysfunction significantly increased with each 10 mmHg of SBP elevation for those not taking antihypertensive medications, after adjustment for age, cigarette smoking and HbA1c levels [relative risk (RR) = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.04-1.41]. This relationship disappeared among those reporting antihypertensive medication use (RR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.84-1.10) and the interaction between SBP and medication use was statistically significant (P = 0.02). Antihypertensive medication did not confer any reduction of erectile dysfunction risk, with similar rates across all measures of blood pressure and hypertension.
Conclusion: Among men with type 1 diabetes not using antihypertensive medications, higher SBP is associated with increased risk of developing erectile dysfunction. These findings provide evidence to support further investigation into the potential benefit of early blood pressure control on risk of erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes regardless of age, blood pressure level, or glycemic control.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00360815.