It is common knowledge that hypertension can be a precursor to developing heart disease. What most people aren’t aware of is why ED can also lead to heart issues.
Since the arteries supplying blood to the penis are much smaller than the ones supplying the heart, this problem may first show up for men as ED. As the plaque buildup increases throughout the body, ED can be a warning sign of a potential heart attack or cardiovascular event.
The chances of a man having a heart attack doubles within five to seven years from the onset of ED if he was diagnosed in his 40s and 50s.
Mostly thought of as a condition that affects older men, erectile dysfunction is not that uncommon for men of any age. About one in 10 men ages 20 to 40 will be affected. For men 40 and older, the likelihood of ED jumps to four out 10 men. The likelihood of a man having erectile dysfunction increases at a steeper rate for those over 60.
An erection happens when the brain senses something sexually arousing and sends messages to control nerves, hormones, blood vessels and muscles that cause an erection. ED happens when there is not enough blood flow to the penis or when muscles don’t work properly to trap and release blood into the penis.
Most men will have trouble getting an erection at some point in their life. In fact, more than half of men over the age of 40 have some degree of ED. Men who have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or have gone through prostate cancer surgery are more likely to have issues with erections. If the problem continues or interferes with sexual activity on a regular basis, then it might be time to talk to a urologist who specializes in men’s sexual health.
Embarrassment, lack of knowledge and thinking it is part of the normal aging process are all reasons men don’t seek treatment for erectile dysfunction. Men can have the problem for years and not ever seek treatment.
Men are stubborn and they often don’t want to hear bad news. Often, it is a man’s partner who points out the issue.
Other risks for developing ED include side effects from medications, such as those prescribed for high blood pressure, anxiety and depression, as well as the conditions themselves. Neurological issues, including spinal injuries, as well as surgeries or cancer treatment can cause ED.
Treatment options for ED range from medications (pills, injections, suppositories) to vacuum erection devices and penile implants. A penile implant is designed to be a permanent solution to ED. It is completely contained inside the body and allows couples to be spontaneous — which is difficult with other treatment options. Men are able to maintain their erection as long as they want, and the implant does not typically interfere with orgasm or ejaculation.
Article provided by: Dr. Edward Becker, Urologist at Palm Beach Urology Associates, P.A., a Trustee Member of the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, represented by Dr. Georgis Patsias, and a member of the Central Palm Beach County Medical Board of Governors, represented by Dr. Edward Becker. Click here to learn more about the Central Palm Beach County Medical Board of Governors.