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Diabetes impairs but does not halt sex among older adults
Date:8/26/2010

ased on a blood test (a measure of glycosolated hemoglobin) that 47 percent of the men had diabetes. About 25 percent of men tested were aware they had diabetes and 22 percent had the disease but had not yet been diagnosed. Almost 40 percent of women had diabetes: 20.5 percent diagnosed and 19 percent undiagnosed. This was comparable to previous studies of people over 60 and consistent with the estimate of 12 million persons with diabetes in the U.S. over the age of 60.

Until now, very little has been known about sexuality among people with undiagnosed diabetes, who are typically earlier in the course of their disease and lack knowledge of their diagnosis.

"Ignorance of the diagnosis protects individuals from the psychological burden and stigma associated with having diabetes," said Lindau. "The elevated prevalence of orgasm difficulties in people unaware of their diabetes suggests that these are predominantly physical. The erectile dysfunction and loss of interest among men with a diagnosis may be due in part to the psychological burden of diabetes."

The aspect of sexuality most affected by diabetes may have been the reduction of sexual drive. The study found that a little more than 60 percent of men without diabetes had masturbated in the prior 12 months, but for those with diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes, the rate fell to about 47 percent.

Although fewer women (22.5%) reported masturbating in the past year, about 29 percent of those without diabetes did so, compared to 15 percent for those with the disease, diagnosed or not. As was found in men, women with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes had a higher prevalence of orgasm difficulties.

"Failure to recognize and address sexual issues among middle-age and older adults with diabetes may impair quality of life and adaptation to the disease," said Marshall Chin, MD, senior author of the study and professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "Sexual problems
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Contact: John Easton
John.Easton@uchospitals.edu
773-702-6241
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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