Table of Contents
Erectile dysfunction is a fairly common health condition that many men, especially older men, experience. In fact, about one in ten men above the age of 60 suffer from the condition. We also know that the likelihood of erectile dysfunction occurring increases with age.
While many of us don’t give erectile dysfunction much thought, it’s important to realize that the condition could hint at underlying conditions.
Taking action to minimize these symptoms can make the difference between recovering and potentially harming your long-term health, making it critical to be on top of it.
This article will discuss ED and health complications that could arise before and after an erectile dysfunction diagnosis.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Before diving into the conditions that ED could indicate, it’s vital to understand what erectile dysfunction is exactly.
To start, let’s understand what ED is not.
Erectile dysfunction doesn’t refer to infrequent bouts of an absent erection.
It’s also not the moment after the refractory period when your mind wants to continue but your penis can’t go on.
Additionally, ED is not simply being unable to reach 100% firmness at will.
Rather, these early signs of erectile dysfunction must be present for ED to be diagnosed. These are as follows:
- The penis is unable to be erect enough for sexual intercourse
- The penis can’t stay firm long enough to have satisfactory sex
- The patient feels great distress over their inability to become hard
When all conditions are met, a doctor can better understand your erectile health and potentially diagnose erectile dysfunction.
The causes of erectile dysfunction can vary from aging to underlying health conditions. It’s best to seek advice from a medical professional for sex life treatment plans.
5 Health Problems That Are Linked To Erectile Dysfunction
About 90% of men who have been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction had a prior risk factor that’s heavily associated with it.
Now, let’s look into potential risk factors associated with erectile dysfunction.
1. Type 2 Diabetes
Extensive research has shown a clear association between diabetes and erectile dysfunction (ED). In fact, Diabetes UK has stated that men who have diabetes are three times more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.
If you’re curious about the mechanism, having persistently high blood sugar can erode the blood vessels and cause them to sustain damage over time. This damage spreads throughout the body, including the blood vessels that supply blood to your penis.
When there’s inadequate blood flow leading to the penis, the sensation of pleasure will be blunted. In turn, this can reduce libido and negatively interfere with the desire to have sex.
Just like diabetes, hypertension can cause long-term blood vessel damage. This is further supported by research, as men with hypertension are twice more likely to have an ED diagnosis.
The damage caused by hypertension or high blood pressure can cause blood vessels to leak, rupture, or narrow. In either of these cases, blood flow to the penis is disrupted, leading to heightened erectile difficulties.
Furthermore, hypertension can interfere with erectile tissues by restricting them from relaxing. These tissues need to relax for the penis to become erect.
To treat high blood pressure, your best bet is to contact your doctor for a proper consultation.
Vascular erectile dysfunction has been proven to be a precursor for coronary heart diseases like atherosclerosis, or a narrowing of the arteries and blood vessels.
Endothelial dysfunction is often present in cases wherein a patient with ED will later become diagnosed with cardiovascular disease in a few years.
This type of dysfunction is caused by blood vessels narrowing instead of dilating when blood passes through them, which leads to blood flow insufficiencies all over the body, including penile blood flow.
While a majority of ED cases are linked to a physiological condition, there’s a large chunk of them that stemmed from mental disorders, particularly seasonal affective disorder and major depressive disorder.
In fact, clinical depression is one of the most common mental causes of erectile dysfunction, with one study citing that about 55% of patients with ED also suffered from depression.
Furthermore, another study showed that men with depression were twice more likely to develop ED than non-depressed men.
Depression changes the brain’s chemistry and interferes with its ability to feel sexual arousal. This reduces sexual desire, which consequently reduces the odds of a man getting an erection.
If you think depression may be contributing to your erectile dysfunction, seek help from a mental health professional.
Another risk factor for ED is obesity. Obesity refers to excessive amounts of body fat and is usually measured by a person’s body mass index or BMI.
In one published study, high levels of visceral fat have been found in 79% of people who had erectile difficulties. When a man is obese, his body’s metabolic structure undergoes notable changes that influence sexual health.
For one, obesity induces chronic inflammation, which consequently decreases the secretion of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone—a vital regulatory hormone that plays a key role in maintaining erections.
Secondly, obesity also induces leptin resistance. This reduces the male sex hormone known as testosterone, causing low libido and ED.
Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction
Living with erectile dysfunction can be a painful endeavor, but it’s not the end of the world.
There are many treatments—both natural and clinical—that affected men can consider to manage their symptoms.
Here are some natural ways to minimize the health problems that come with ED:
- Take part in weight loss programs
- Exercise regularly
- Eat the right diet
- Quitting vices
- Sleeping over 7 hours a night
If you want more medical assistance, here are some common medical treatments used to treat ED and other peripheral conditions:
- Erectile dysfunction medications
- RestoreWave therapy
- Topical gels and creams
- ED therapy
- Low testosterone therapy
By taking proactive steps when treating erectile dysfunction, you can reduce your risk of sexual dysfunction and potentially reverse erectile dysfunction altogether.
Get The Best Erectile Dysfunction Treatment at Prestige Men’s Medical Center in Tampa, Florida
An erectile dysfunction case may be mild at first, but it won’t take long before these sexual problems spill into other parts of your health.
This is why getting high-quality treatments is crucial for recovery.
Have more questions, but don’t know where to start? Good news: Tampa’s Prestige Men’s Medical Center has a catalog of world-class doctors that are more than ready to help you jumpstart your sexual health journey.
Contact us today to take the first steps in reigniting your sex life.