ED itself can be a symptom of a much more serious medical issue. Seeking treatment for this problem can help you improve your overall health.
Heart Issues And ED
A wide range of problems that affect the cardiovascular system interfere with the ability of a man to have and maintain an erection long enough to participate in intercourse.
The condition of the blood vessels is vitally important. Some of the common cardiovascular causes of erectile dysfunction include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides
Statistics show that approximately half of the men that suffer from erectile dysfunction have high blood pressure. Several studies were carried out, identifying a link between ED and a high risk of having a stroke.
The link between obesity and ED is very strong. A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine tried to establish the degree to which obesity affects male sexual function. The study took place in Italy and it involved 2435 volunteers.
Of the volunteers, 41.5 percent had normal weight, 42.4 were overweight, 12.1 percent were obese and the remaining four percent were morbidly obese.
Researchers performed a wide range of blood tests and they found out that the severity of the obesity was correlated to a decrease in testosterone production. Obesity is also related to problems like high blood pressure and high level of cholesterol, which have already been identified as factors contributing to ED.
The Use Of Medications
Some medications produce side effects that affect the functioning of the male reproductive system. Various groups of pharmaceutical products have been proven to increase the risk of erectile dysfunction.
These groups of medications include:
- High blood pressure medicines
- Medicines for Parkinson’s disease
The fact that these medications produce side effects does not mean all men who take them will experience erectile dysfunction. Still, the risk is significantly higher than for men who are not using pharmaceutical products for the treatment of certain conditions.
Though erectile dysfunction is most commonly caused by physiological factors, certain psychological issues can decrease a man’s ability to have and to maintain an erection. The psychological causes of ED are:
- High levels of stress and anxiety
- Relationship problems, whether these are related to sexual performance or another issue
- History of sexual problems in the past
- Sexual abuse and inability to recover from it
- Lack of sexual knowledge
Cigarettes, Alcohol And Drugs
If you are looking for yet another reason to quit smoking, here is one – cigarettes increase the risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction. Cigarette smoking narrows the blood vessels, which can interfere with the proper flow of blood.
The situation becomes even more troublesome in the case of smokers that have high cholesterol levels or are obese. A Chinese study found out that men who smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day are 60 percent more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than non-smokers in the same age group.
Excessive alcoholic beverage consumption and alcoholism are also connected to a higher risk of experiencing ED. The long-term consumption of alcohol can affect the functioning of the brain and the nervous system.
Numerous studies confirm the fact that excessive alcoholic beverage consumption increases sexual desire but it interferes with performance.
Men who take a wide range of illicit drugs are also at risk of experiencing ED. Amphetamines, barbiturates, marijuana cocaine, opiates and methadone can all cause erectile dysfunction.
These drugs affect the central nervous system, which in turn inhibits the mechanism that enables men to have an erection.
Certain lifestyle changes and the treatment of medical conditions can reverse the processes that increase the risk of erectile dysfunction. Talking to a physician is a must to rule out serious health problems and to select the best treatment on the basis of personal factors and risks.