Poor heart health is a prevalent problem in men’s health, and impacts your overall health in numerous ways. It causes long-term health problems and can dramatically increase your risk of fatal cardiovascular events. In fact, almostin the UK are caused by cardiovascular disease.
These effects are well-known, but few know that heart disease also affects your sex life. It is one of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction (ED), and is often an early warning sign of an underlying heart problem. Keep reading to find out more.
Cardiovascular disease is a term for a group of conditions that affect the heart and circulatory system. One of the most common of these diseases is coronary heart disease (sometimes known as ischaemic heart disease or coronary artery disease) which affects around 2.3 million people in the UK.
"2.3 million people in the UK are living with coronary heart disease."
Coronary heart disease is caused by arteries that supply the heart narrowing over time. With no intervention, the blood vessels continue to narrow so much that it significantly reduces blood flow. This can cause a blockage in the arteries, potentially resulting in a stroke, heart failure or a heart attack (myocardial infarction).
The condition is often symptomless, which can lead to many complications that are found too late. However, some people may experience breathlessness and chest pain (angina).
Heart disease is caused by a buildup of fatty substances (plaque) in the blood vessels. This thickens or hardens the inner lining of the arteries over time, a phenomenon known as atherosclerosis.
Heart disease is generally caused by your lifestyle, including poor diet, obesity, little exercise, and certain unhealthy habits. It is also linked to several chronic conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol is a substance that is produced in your liver and can be found in several foods. We all need a certain amount of cholesterol, but eating too many fatty foods can cause cholesterol to build up in the blood vessels. This hardens and forms plaque, limiting blood flow.
Blood pressure is a measurement of how hard your heart has to work to circulate blood around your body. Having high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, means your heart muscle has to work harder to pump blood around your body. Untreated high blood pressure damages the artery walls over time, which creates a site for plaque to build up more easily.
Diabetes is a chronic condition which causes high blood sugar levels. If not well controlled, high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels. They reduce the elasticity of the blood vessels, which can cause them to narrow over time.
Smoking is linked to heart disease in several ways. It reduces the elasticity of the blood vessels, which leads to atherosclerosis and plaque build-up. The chemicals in cigarettes can also thicken your blood, meaning blood clots are more likely to form and result in a serious cardiac event.
Alcohol is high in sugar and calories, which can be a risk factor for several of the conditions on this list. In addition, drinking excessively regularly can also cause high blood pressure, which is closely linked to heart disease. The vice also weakens the heart muscle, meaning less blood can circulate around the body, which affects your heart rate.
Chronic stress is a risk factor for heart disease and particularly elevates your risk of cardiovascular events. Onestudy monitored almost 300 people aged around 50 years old. They found that increased brain activity in response to stress increased arterial inflammation and bone marrow activity (another phenomenon have linked to heart disease). This significantly increased the risk of a cardiovascular event. In fact, 22 of the participants experienced a cardiovascular disease event after the study took place.
Managing your heart disease is the first step to improving your ED symptoms.
The best way to improve your heart health is through lifestyle changes. Here are a few simple things you can do to help with symptoms:
If you have a condition such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you may also require prescription medications such as beta-blockers or statins to help with your condition.
There are also plenty of treatment options for ED, such as Viagra (Sildenafil). You take these medicines shortly before sexual activity and they help increase blood flow to the penis.
They should be safe to take if you have a heart condition. In fact, Sildenafil is sometimes used to treat heart problems. However, always check with your healthcare provider or cardiologist before taking any other medications.
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