Diabetes, sleep disorders, and male sexual function

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      The prevalence and role of sleep disorders in the sexual problems of diabetic patients remain unexplored. This study was conducted on 40 diabetic men carefully screened to exclude the confounding effects of other medical illnesses or drugs likely to impair sexual function and 40 age-matched healthy volunteers. They underwent an extensive psychosexual interview, medical and psychiatric evaluations, and three recorded nights in a sleep laboratory. Electroencephalogram, eye movements, muscle tone, and nocturnal penile tumescence were monitored continouusly. Respiratory airflow and bilateral anterior tibialis recordings were obtained during the first sleep session. Diabetic men had significantly higher prevalences of respiratory and periodic leg movement disturbances during sleep. There was clinical, although not nocturnal penile tumescence, evidence suggesting that respiratory abnormalities during sleep are associated with erectile difficulties in diabetic men. Future studies should include blood oxygenation and respiratory effort measures to clarify the significance of sleep-related airflow disturbances in diabetic patients.


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