Although erectile dysfunction may not seem to be somehow related to hypertension, high blood pressure and its treatment medications can become the cause of this disorder. According to some study, one third of men with hypertension have the condition of erectile dysfunction.
Erectile Dysfunction Is Common
Based on a study, disorder of sexual function occurred, to some extent, in forty percent of men by the age of 40. Men reported such conditions as erectile dysfunction, abnormal ejaculation, or lack of sexual desire.
Erectile dysfunction tends to be the most common of these sexual disorders. While quite many men fail to get an erection up to 20% of the time, ED is, in fact, a man’s physical incapability of developing and maintaining erection more than 50% of the time.
How Do You Get an Erection?
Everything starts inside your brain. First, it has to be stimulated by something, so that it can activate the nervous system. Chemicals called neurotransmitters are released causing relaxation to the penis, which makes the blood to flow in. The blood then gets trapped inside, as the veins collapse due to the increased pressure. Another chemical known as nitric oxide is also released during an erection relaxing the penis’s blood vessels.
The process continues until the blood flow is normal again.
What Does Hypertension Have to Do with Erection?
Like high cholesterol and diabetes, high blood pressure is linked to narrowing of the arteries. Besides, levels of the male hormone testosterone, which is important for sexual arousal, may be low in men with hypertension.
Speaking about other risk factors for ED, smoking is one of them, since it increases blood pressure even more and reduces blood circulation.
Hypertension Medications and Erectile Dysfunction
As mentioned earlier, erectile dysfunction may also be caused by hypertension treatment medications, which include diuretics and beta-blockers. Adding to the fact that these medications may have a sedative effect, which influences a man’s libido, they also have some side effects that are more directly connected with erectile dysfunction.
For instance, diuretics may reduce blood flow to the penis. Besides, they may cause the body to lose zinc, while this mineral is needed to produce the hormone testosterone. Other medications called beta-blockers tend to affect the part of the nervous system that regulates widening of the arteries.
If You Think Your Condition Is Causing ED
Making certain lifestyle changes may help to lower the risk of different health issues, including ED-related issues.
Quit smoking. Smoking causes a number of negative effects. In case you cannot quit on your own, ask your doctor for help.
Control blood pressure. Such healthy lifestyle modifications as reducing salt intake, losing weight, and exercising, can help to avoid damage to the blood pressure.
Medication. If healthy lifestyle habits are not effective enough, there lots of different medications to treat hypertension. If you think that the drugs you are using might cause erectile dysfunction, you can change your medicine. Such medications as ACE (angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors), angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, and alpha-blockers differ from diuretics and beta-blockers, and the risk of ED is significantly lower with these drugs.
Overall, it is always a good idea to keep in touch with your doctor to avoid different complications, as well as get recommendations on treating already existing conditions.