Erectile dysfunction is a condition wherein the penis is unable to achieve or maintain a level of firmness that’s necessary for sexual intercourse.
According to a Massachusetts Male Aging Study, erectile dysfunction is one of the most common disorders that men face. About 53% of the survey respondents aged 40 to 70 expressed having symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
Despite advancements in healthcare and technology, the prevalence of ED continues to grow year over year. In 2025, 322 million men across the globe are expected to have erectile dysfunction, which can be mild, moderate, or severe.
Despite its prevalence, this condition can be extremely debilitating to one’s sex life, and many men choose to hide their condition out of shame and fear of bringing up their sexual health.
It’s not uncommon for ED to arise due to preexisting health conditions. Furthermore, ED can also be one of the first risk factors of a disease that’s yet to fully materialize.
Let’s take a look at the relationship between chronic disease and ED.
Your heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout your body, and if it isn’t working properly, your other organs will be affected.
Atherosclerosis, a common heart condition that causes the hardening of the arteries, can lead to erectile dysfunction. This condition makes it hard for blood to pass through the arteries due to blockages caused by fatty deposits and plaque.
Moreover, erectile dysfunction is also often a precursor for early-stage coronary heart disease. The heart artery blockages during this time are minimal, but the large blood vessels throughout the body constrict instead of dilate. This can cause chest pain and shortness of breath on top of erectile dysfunction.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when your blood pressure readings are consistently above 130/80 mmHg. This makes the heart work harder to pump blood throughout your body and can damage your arteries over time.
Around 30% of men with hypertension and cardiovascular disease experience some form of ED. Hypertension may play a direct or indirect role in this condition, as it can damage the arteries that lead to the penis or give rise to conditions that may make it harder for your penis to maintain an erection.
Hypertension can directly lead to erectile dysfunction in two ways: it can damage the lining of blood vessels, making them less elastic and less able to fill with blood, or it can inhibit penile blood flow, making it difficult to achieve an erection.
According to a recent study, there is a strong association between erectile dysfunction and diabetes. Another study claimed that half of all men with Type 2 diabetes go on to develop ED after 5 to 10 years.
Diabetes can harm the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which is responsible for the widening and constricting of blood vessels.
High blood sugar levels may also lead to vascular and neuropathic issues that affect the body’s blood supply and nerves. If the damage to the nerves of the penis is too severe, erectile dysfunction can occur in patients.
People with diabetes may also suffer from other forms of male sexual dysfunction like delayed ejaculation and low sexual arousal. Treatment plans usually involve managing underlying diabetes and performing lifestyle changes.
Erectile dysfunction isn’t only limited to physical symptoms; it affects mental health too. In fact, depression is one of the most common psychological causes of ED. Depression can negatively affect all areas of your life, including your sexual health.
Depression can cause a loss of interest in sex, as well as other problems that can interfere with sexual performance. The reason for this is because there’s an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, which can alter sexual desire significantly.
One study has demonstrated the association between depression in men and having difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. While anti-depressants help manage symptoms, there are also sexual side effects to taking certain types of SSRIs. Talk to your doctor before attempting to manage your symptoms.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. OSA occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, despite the effort to breathe.
According to one study, obstructive sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction (ED) have a close relationship to one another. Besides that, OSA can also lead to low testosterone and fatigue— two other common causes of ED.
If you think you might have sleep apnea, talk to your doctor. It’s a treatable condition, and treating it can reverse erectile dysfunction.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Even for men with an active sexual history, STIs can cause problems in the prostate gland, which in turn leads to difficulties maintaining an erection.
Some STIs that can cause erectile dysfunction include:
The best way to resolve STIs is by using antibiotics and antiviral drugs. It’s also important to speak to your sexual health doctor about your symptoms so that they can address them appropriately.
Consult Tampa’s Leading ED Health Clinic for Medical Guidance and Treatment Options
When addressing ED, it’s important to deal with the primary causes of the problem.
Treating the underlying cause will often improve erectile function.
There are several medical treatments for erectile dysfunction, including:
- Psychotherapy: Talking with a therapist can help address anxiety, depression, low libido, or other psychological factors that may be contributing to ED.
- Acoustic wave therapy: This therapy uses sound waves to improve blood flow and nerve function in the penis.
- Medications: Many medications can be used to treat ED, including phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (such as sildenafil), hormone therapy, and injectable medications.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat underlying conditions that are causing ED (such as blockages in the arteries or veins).
- Lifestyle changes: Quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly can all help improve erectile function.
If you’re dealing with erectile dysfunction, it’s important to seek treatment.
There are several effective options available, and addressing the underlying cause of ED can often improve sexual function. Contact the team at Prestige Men’s Medical Center in Tampa now to schedule an appointment to have a consultation with their experienced and specially trained medical staff. We are Tampa’s leading men’s clinic providing ED therapy, PE therapy, Acoustic Wave therapy, hormone therapy, and much more.