Heart-Health Risk Factors: What Can Erectile Dysfunction Mean?

Erectile dysfunction is hardly ever considered good news. However, it may sometimes be a sign of heart disease. This is why it is important to identify the problem at early stages. 

Having an erection is one of the basic natural abilities of a male body. When it´s lost, it signals about something wrong happening in the system.

Erectile dysfunction may sometimes occur because of sexual performance anxiety, for instance, or because of the nerve damage caused by a radical prostatectomy or spinal cord injury. However, at the age of 40 or older, a man may start facing erection problems in a gradual manner, which almost always is a sign of cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus. In such cases, it is a good idea to consider making certain lifestyle changes in order to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. Potency can also be restored as a result of these changes. However, it is important to apply the modifications as soon as possible to increase the chances of overcoming sexual dysfunction.

Indicating the Problem

Getting regular doctor checkups is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy body, since they can turn up problems in early stages. If a man ignores doctor visits, erectile dysfunction may become the first sign of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

Both diseases imply interference with the blood flow caused by fatty plaques building up in the arteries. When blood flow to the heart slows down, it may lead to a heart attack. A stroke can happen when the brain or neck arteries are affected. If the same happens with the penis arteries, erectile dysfunction occurs.

Once a man starts facing difficulties having an erection, it is vital to visit a primary care physician. There he will be tested for cardiovascular disease. Factors that increase the risk of the disease include blood pressure, blood lipids, blood sugar, weight and smoking status.

Based on the test results, further recommendations are given. Some lifestyle changes, as well as medications may be needed in order to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. Although lifestyle changes alone are unlikely to restore potency, they may help erectile dysfunction medication work more efficiently.

Starting the Treatment

The first-line medications for erectile dysfunction include the phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, such as sildenafil (also known as Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) or vardenafil (Levitra).

Normally, these drugs will restore potency in two-thirds to three-fourths of cases.

However, the treatment will not work, if blood flow to the penis is low or the nerves required for an erection are damaged. If a man has an advanced cardiovascular disease, the medications are also likely to fail. This is why it is very important to take the risk seriously, and get a checkup, as soon as the first sign of erectile dysfunction appears.

Maintaining Sexual Health

Sometimes PDE5 inhibitors do not work right away. In this case certain healthy lifestyle changes may help to improve the medications´ performance.

In fact, you shouldn´t underestimate the importance of healthy lifestyle. It is actually possible that changing your lifestyle may greatly improve your health condition, and you might not need medications anymore.

No Pain, No Gain

The risk of erectile dysfunction, as well as cardiovascular disease and other age-related diseases, grows each ten years throughout life.

If a man takes measures to control his risk factors, he can actually maintain sexual health well into his 80s or 90s. However, it does take an effort. There is no easy way. For instance, your cardiovascular disease or erectile dysfunction will not just disappear, if you adopt one healthy habit. If you want to have a healthy sex life, your whole lifestyle has to be heart-healthy. This implies not smoking, keeping a normal weight, exercising and following a heart-healthy diet. An example of such a diet can be the Mediterranean diet.

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