Erectile Dysfunction is often cited in studies as the most prevalent form of sexual dysfunction suffered by men. Erectile dysfunction is defined as having difficulty getting or keeping an erection. Conversely, libido is a person’s overall sexual drive or desire for sexual activity.
Although it is perfectly normal to suffer from the occasional performance issue, especially as men age, erectile dysfunction is a condition that is generally understood to exist if you have trouble achieving or maintaining an erection during approximately 20 percent of your sexual encounters.
There have been multiple studies on the number of men who have erectile dysfunction. One study determined that 50 percent of men between the ages of 40 to 70 sometimes have erectile dysfunction. Another study determined that 10 percent of men between the ages of 40 to 70 have severe or complete erectile dysfunction.
There are numerous reasons for erectile dysfunction; some of the most significant risk factors are heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Some medications can also affect erectile dysfunction, which may include medications for diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and depression. Some other factors which may put men at a higher risk of erectile dysfunction are surgery or radiation for prostate cancer, neurologic disorders, and lower spinal cord injuries.
Smoking can also be a significant factor in erectile dysfunction. An erection is achieved only when the vessels in the penis enlarge and fill with blood. Smoking can disrupt blood vessels in that body area, meaning the actions can’t always happen. Some studies have shown that men who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day have a 60 percent higher risk of erectile dysfunction compared to men who never smoked.
Obesity can be an even more significant predictor of erectile dysfunction than getting older. Obesity can result in hormone imbalance and insulin resistance and is generally accepted to go hand in hand with a lack of physical inactivity. Studies have found the incidence of erectile dysfunction to be more frequent in obese men than in the general population and should be considered a risk factor in and of its own.
Diabetes and erectile dysfunction appear to go hand in hand, at least as far as the number of men in the United States suffering from both conditions. By not taking control of your blood sugar management, you could be unknowingly sabotaging your sex life. Long-term unmanaged blood sugar can permanently damage the male sex organ and permanently damage everyday sex life.
Diabetes can cause a lessening sensitivity to stimulation ad nerve damage in the penis. It can also cause a decrease in the blood flow to the penis, the primary physical mechanism associated with getting an erection.
Researchers have not determined that cholesterol is directly linked to erectile dysfunction, but it is easy to see the correlation between high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction. Cholesterol, as we know, is a waxy, fatty substance that, when combined with a protein, travels through the bloodstream.
The two main types of cholesterol are Low-Density lipoprotein (LDL) and High-Density lipoprotein (HDL). Having an improper balance (high LDL, low HDL) of cholesterol in the body is one of the significant contributors to heart disease as cholesterol molecules can stick to the inside of arteries which can narrow the passageway leading to an increased risk of erectile dysfunction.
Heart disease has been shown to have a solid connection to erectile dysfunction, as erectile dysfunction can often be attributed to another underlying medical condition. For example, one study has shown that 57 percent of men who had bypass surgery and 64 percent of men hospitalized for a heart attack have, at one time or another, had erectile dysfunction.
This connection is so strong that it has been shown that erectile dysfunction is as good an indicator of heart disease symptoms within five years as a family history of coronary heart disease or smoking.
We recently completed another article in which we discussed metabolic syndrome. Briefly, metabolic syndrome is five conditions:
High blood sugar
Low levels of HDL
High Levels of triglycerides in the blood
Large waist circumference or “apple-shaped” body
High blood sugar
To be diagnosed with Metabolic syndrome, you must have three of the five listed conditions. All these contributing factors have at least a corollary association with erectile dysfunction. As we piece these different components together, it paints a clear picture; they are all very much connected to erectile dysfunction and one another.
Not having these conditions diagnosed can have dire consequences for not only your long-term health but your sex life as well. One huge obstacle is that erectile dysfunction often goes untreated.
Many men find it an uncomfortable topic and are embarrassed or ashamed to discuss it with their partner, let alone their healthcare provider. This causes significant concerns as some severe medical conditions in which erectile dysfunction is a symptom of later down the line are not diagnosed when treatment could be the most beneficial. Some men feel inadequate, which can often affect their self-esteem, it can affect their relationships and increase stress.
Make as many positive lifestyle changes as you possibly can:
Get enough physical activity. Being physically active can reduce your risk for disease and strengthen your body, including your brain, body, and bones. You will probably notice a marked improvement in your ability to conduct your everyday routine. It can help to improve your blood pressure, improve the quality of your sleep, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Maintain a nutritious diet with the right amount of protein, healthy fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. This can make an enormous difference in the quality of your life and mitigate the risk of the associated medical conditions related to erectile dysfunction.
Quit smoking. The evidence could not be more apparent after countless years of research that smoking is incredibly detrimental to your overall health and your sexual health as well. There is a direct correlation between smoking and erectile dysfunction. The sooner you stop, the better.
Consume alcohol in moderation. Some studies indicate that one or two alcoholic beverages a day can benefit your health. Still, when the consumption becomes excessive, it can contribute to premature ejaculation as it can damage the muscle cells in the penis.
Try to maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Sleep disruption, especially in the case of sleep apnea, can profoundly affect your erectile function.
Maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Not only does persistent high blood sugar lead to diabetes and many other health issues, but high blood sugar can also lead to nerve damage and damage to vessels responsible for obtaining an erection. By maintaining a healthy blood sugar level, you can increase your odds of having a healthy reproductive system and lower your odds of getting the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
Having an active sex life can diminish the incidence of erectile dysfunction. Some studies have shown an increased chance of erectile dysfunction as the number of sexual encounters per week decreases. Don’t let intermittent erectile dysfunction manifest into a more significant problem by avoiding sex.
Last but certainly not least is to be open and honest with your healthcare provider. Erectile dysfunction can be associated with many other severe underlying health conditions that can be diagnosed and treated sooner if we can get early detection. As we discussed earlier in this article, erectile dysfunction is prevalent and is nothing to be ashamed of. All men, at one time or another, will exhibit the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. When the problem becomes severe, over 20 percent of your overall sexual encounters, it may be time to discuss the issue with a professional.
As a patient, you should feel comfortable speaking to your healthcare provider about any personal health concerns or symptoms, no matter how sensitive. If you feel uncomfortable speaking to your current provider, seek a provider with whom you are comfortable and trained to treat erectile dysfunction. At Titan Wellness Center, we take pride in developing relationships with our patients and gaining their trust. This allows us to have candid conversations when needed and provides quality patient care. Our patient/provider team approach allows our patients to actively participate in their healthcare and the development of their customized protocol.
The professionals at Titan Wellness Center are experienced in diagnosing and treating erectile dysfunction. They are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to help men suffering from this condition. They can use a variety of treatments, including medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes, to help alleviate symptoms and improve overall sexual function. If you or a loved one is struggling with erectile dysfunction, please get in touch with Titan Wellness Center contact Titan Wellness Center to schedule an appointment and get the help you need.