Many people view erectile dysfunction as an isolated occurrence. The truth of the matter is, however, that erectile dysfunction can frequently be a sign of a much more serious problem. A problem that’s dangerous and potentially life threatening. This problem is heart disease.
The Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction
ED shouldn’t always be viewed as a warning sign of something much more serious. The inability to get and sustain an erection can have a wide array of causes.
A few of the common ones include (more about causes here):
- High cholesterol or high blood pressure
- Being overweight or obese
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Having to take certain kinds of prescription meds (a side effect)
- The excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Cigarette smoking
- Treatments for prostate issues and surgeries
- Depression and anxiety
- Stress and fatigue
- Relationship problems and poor communication about sexual issues
As you can see, some of these problems are related to heart function, others stem from alternative medical conditions and some are completely psychological.
When you see your urologist due to ED, you’ll usually have to complete a couple of medical tests. The aim of these is to figure out whether erectile dysfunction stands as a problem on its own or if it’s caused by another medical condition.
Erectile Dysfunction As A Sign Of Heart Disease
Erections and the functioning of the cardiovascular system are closely related to each other.
In order to get an erection, a guy should have sufficient quantities of blood entering the penile tissue. This will happen whenever the heart pumps strongly enough and the arteries are free from buildup (a condition called atherosclerosis).
Researchers believe that when ED comes before heart problems, it’s indicative of a problem with the lining of the blood vessels.
The lining of the blood vessels is called endothelium. Endothelial dysfunction causes diminished quantities of blood to reach the heart. The condition also creates the right environment for atherosclerosis to occur. These combined effects can potentially contribute to heart disease.
Obviously, ED isn’t always indicative of an underlying heart problem. Medics, however, recommend screening for such guys, unless another cause of ED is identified. Potentially, this type of screening can enable an early intervention that will reduce the risk of serious health problems.
As already mentioned, ED isn’t always linked to a cardiovascular problem or a heart disease.
ED and heart disease, however, do share a big number of risk factors. If any of them are present, the risk becomes higher.
A few of the most common risk factors for the development of ED and cardiovascular problems include obesity, excessive alcohol use, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, age (erectile dysfunction in young men is very often linked to a medical problem) and low testosterone levels.
If you have any of the mentioned risk factors, it would be smartest to get screened for heart disease in accordance with your physician’s recommendations.
In case a link is suspected between cardiovascular problems and ED, you’ll be advised to introduce various lifestyle changes. Going on a healthy diet, attempting to lose some weight, exercising and quitting smoking can have a massive impact on both conditions.
Research And Supportive Evidence
Several clinical studies have attempted to establish the link between ED and heart disease. An Australian study ranks among the most telling ones.
The researchers worked with male volunteers aged 45 or older. None of the men had a previous history of heart disease.
Over the course of the experiment, researchers found out that the men who suffered from moderate to severe erectile dysfunction were 50 percent more likely than the other volunteers to get hospitalized for a heart problem.
In many instances, ED could be giving you valuable information by being an early warning sign for a cardiovascular problem. Don’t ignore the issue and think of it as purely sexual.
Quite often, ED has an underlying cardiovascular cause. Go and have the issue checked by a professional. This could potentially save your life!