Blood pressure plays an extremely important role in the erection process, which is why impotence tends to be prevalent in men with hypertension. Statistics show that almost half of men with high blood pressure are likely to experience impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction. This is also why impotence can be an indication that a man may have high blood pressure and why it's always wise to visit your doctor if erectile dysfunction is a frequent occurrence for you.

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What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure affects 30% of UK adults

High blood pressure is when the pressure exerted by blood on the vascular system is higher than it should be, placing strain on blood vessels and the heart. According to the NHS, the condition affects 30% of people in the UK, although this figure could be much higher because the condition is unlikely to cause any symptoms, meaning that many people might have it without knowing.

High blood pressure that isn't treated can eventually lead to a heart attack, stroke or kidney disease.

Why does high blood pressure cause impotence?

As already mentioned, impotence in men is one of the very few symptoms of high blood pressure. This is because high blood pressure prevents the smooth muscles of blood vessels in the penis from relaxing and consequently widening enough during the erection process to allow enough blood to flow to the penis for a sustainable erection.

High blood pressure can also have an effect on testosterone levels, which can also lead to impotence and even depression. Testosterone plays an important role in male sexual dysfunction, and if testosterone levels are lower than they should be it can cause an imbalance that can make it difficult for a man to get or maintain an erection that is sufficient for satisfactory sexual intercourse.

High Blood Pressure Stats

Along with high blood pressure, unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking can perpetuate the problem, but sometimes high blood pressure treatments can also do this. High blood pressure treatments such as beta-blockers and diuretics in particular may carry a risk of causing impotence as a side effect. This is because diuretics lower the force of blood going towards the penile tissues and beta-blockers can have an effect on nerve responses.

Can impotence as a result of high blood pressure be treated?

Impotence as a result of hypertension can be treated. Sometimes simply treating high blood pressure can be helpful, but as mentioned some treatments may contribute to the problem. In these cases it’s advisable to work with your doctor to see if alternative treatments or dosage adjustments can help with the problem.

Depending on your health condition and the current treatment you are on for your hypertension, it is possible that you may benefit from impotence treatments such as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra. However, you may not be able to take these treatments if you are using alpha-blockers for hypertension, nitrate treatments for chest pain, have had a heart attack within the previous six months or have kidney disease, liver disease or certain types of eye disease.

In cases where it’s not possible to use these treatments for impotence, you may be able to benefit from using penis pumps, injections or surgery, although the latter should only be considered as a last resort.