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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a very common condition, particularly in older men. Around half of men aged from 40 to 70 are thought to experience some erectile problems, but despite this, ED is still a condition we struggle to talk about.
ED is diagnosed when a man has trouble getting or maintaining an erection. The condition can have a huge impact on a man's wellbeing, affecting his mental and physical health. This can also lead to relationship difficulties, as sexual problems will impact on his partner too.
Although it can be tricky to address such a personal topic, the findings of a recent study suggest we all need to be talking about erectile dysfunction more.
Recently, scientists from University of Mississippi looked at the overall health of 1,790 men aged from 20 to 85 years old, over seven years. 557 of the men reported experiencing ED symptoms.
The researchers found that the men with ED were more likely to experience life-threatening conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, than the other participants. Most alarmingly, those with ED had a 70% greater chance of experiencing an early death.
The scientists believe these results came about because ED can be an indication of poor cardiovascular health. There are several possible causes of ED, and it can be due to psychological factors, particularly when it occurs in young men. However, if the problem is physical, it often comes down to restricted blood flow to the penis; without a good blood supply it is very difficult to get an erection.
Blood supply can be restricted when the blood vessels leading to the penis become narrow. This can be due to high cholesterol in the blood causing a build-up of plaque in the vessels, which can occur all over the body. Therefore ED may be the first symptom of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and may mean an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
For any man who develops ED, it is recommended to undergo a general health check to ensure any underlying problems are spotted as soon as possible.
If you are concerned about your cardiovascular health, you can take steps to improve it by making certain lifestyle changes. Risk factors for CVD include:
If any of those risk factors apply to you, now is the time to take action and reduce your risk of health problems. Speak to your doctor about losing weight, quitting smoking and integrating more exercise into your current routine. Your doctor can also check your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels and advise you further about controlling these.
There are various treatments available for ED; which solution you decide to choose may depend on the causes of your ED. Options for treating a physical problem include making the above lifestyle changes, herbal treatments, surgery and vacuum pumps, but the most popular form of treatment is oral prescription medication such as Viagra and Cialis. These treatments are known as PDE5 inhibitors. There are several choices out there but all of these treatments are clinically proven and work in a similar way. Click here to compare ED treatments and find the right one for you.