Can diabetes cause joint pain, sexual health disorders in men? Expert answers | Health - Hindustan Times

Can diabetes cause hair loss, joint pain, sexual health disorders in men? Expert answers

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Oct 29, 2023 06:00 PM IST

Health expert reveals whether diabetes can cause hair loss, osteoarthritis or sexual health disorders like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation in men

While we often prioritise the management of heart diseases and blood pressure, it is essential not to overlook the significance of controlling diabetes which is characterised by fasting blood sugar levels exceeding 100mg/dL or post-meal levels over 140mg/dL and is a prevalent metabolic disorder that can quietly wreak havoc on various tissues and organs in the body. Health experts reveal that from hair to toenails, diabetes can affect muscles, bones, joints and other related tissues, causing a range of health problems but sweat not as we simplify it for you about how poorly controlled blood sugar levels can impact these vital aspects of our physical well-being.

Can diabetes cause hair loss, joint pain, sexual health disorders in men? Expert answers (Shutterstock)
Can diabetes cause hair loss, joint pain, sexual health disorders in men? Expert answers (Shutterstock)

External Health Problems

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Tribhuvan Gulati, Lead Consultant, Diabetes, Obesity and Internal Medicine at the CK Birla Hospital (R) in Delhi, shared, “Diabetes can manifest in numerous external health problems that extend beyond elevated sugar levels. Skin changes, hair loss, and eye troubles are common issues. Many individuals with diabetes experience retinopathy and are prone to early cataracts. These eye complications can lead to vision impairment or even blindness if left unmanaged.”

Internal Health Problems

Dr Tribhuvan Gulati revealed, “The effects of diabetes are not limited to external appearances. Diabetes can affect the internal health of the body as well. Individuals with diabetes may develop stomatitis and glossitis, conditions characterized by inflammation and discomfort in the mouth. Moreover, diabetes can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to severe complications, including heart attacks, kidney failures, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, all of which can significantly impact overall health and quality of life.”

Impact on Bones

Asserting that diabetes can adversely affect bone health through several mechanisms, Dr Tribhuvan Gulati explained, “First, obesity, which is often associated with diabetes, puts additional strain on bones and joints, potentially leading to osteoarthritis and joint pain. Second, fluctuations in insulin levels can interfere with bone metabolism, contributing to bone loss and reduced bone density. Third, diabetes can result in elevated levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in collagen, which can negatively affect bone quality. Additionally, diabetes can lead to increased excretion of calcium through urine while impairing calcium absorption in the intestines, further weakening bones. Lastly, the inflammatory processes associated with diabetes can contribute to bone and joint problems.”

Impact on Joints

He elaborated, “People with diabetes may experience various joint-related issues, including discomfort or stiffness in the joints, reduced joint mobility, joint swelling, and structural abnormalities. A tingling sensation resembling pins and needles in the arms or legs can also occur, adding to the discomfort. These joint problems can significantly affect a person's mobility and overall quality of life.”

Impact on Men's Health

Pointing out that diabetes can also affect men's health in ways that are not always openly discussed, Dr Tribhuvan Gulati said, “Sexual health can suffer, leading to problems like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. These issues can have a profound impact on a man's self-esteem and relationships. Additionally, the musculoskeletal system, which includes muscles and bones, is not exempt from the consequences of poorly controlled diabetes.”


Given that weak muscles, particularly in the legs, are a common consequence of diabetes, Dr Tribhuvan Gulati said, “This muscle weakness can contribute to difficulties in walking and performing daily activities. Fragile bones, often observed in diabetic patients, can lead to conditions such as osteopenia and osteoporosis, increasing the risk of fractures. It's not uncommon for individuals with diabetes to appear to have thinner limbs while carrying excess weight in the torso, highlighting the gradual weakening of muscles as a result of diabetes.”

She advised, “Managing diabetes is not solely about controlling blood sugar levels; it is about safeguarding the foundation of an individual's body, including muscles, bones, joints, and related tissues. By understanding the intricate connections within the body, individuals can empower themselves to take proactive steps to prevent damage to their organs and tissues. Regular monitoring, a balanced diet, physical activity, and medication as prescribed by healthcare professionals are essential components of diabetes management. By addressing diabetes comprehensively, individuals can enhance their overall well-being and quality of life while reducing the risk of complications that can arise from poorly controlled blood sugar levels. Diabetes may be a formidable adversary, but with knowledge and proactive measures, one can effectively manage and mitigate its impact on the body's vital tissues and organs.”

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