It’s become pretty common knowledge that men between the ages of 40 and 70 have experienced some form of erectile dysfunction. However, most people assume that it has to do with the aging process. While aging definitely impacts erectile function, it isn’t as cut and dry as some believe. In fact, more and more studies are showing a strong link between erectile dysfunction and severe health conditions. The getting or maintaining of an erection can often be a clue that there is something else going on in a man’s body that he needs to address, so don’t ignore it!
Here are 6 diseases linked to erectile dysfunction:
1) Heart Attack and Stroke
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the first apparent signs a man can experience when he has blocked arteries. It’s so common that up to 30 percent of men who have ED also have some form of hidden blockage in their vessels, or heart disease. Blocked arteries mean there is a reduction of, and therefore damage to, to the organ that the arteries supply. The penis has arteries that get blocked first because they are so small.
Over the last 5 years, there have been several new studies that measure the relationship between heart disease and ED. It’s such an active link that 15 percent of men with ED will have a heart attack or stroke within 5 years of diagnosis.
2) Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
CAD is an illness in which cholesterol and plaque accumulate within the arteries and results in them becoming stiff and narrow. It’s the primary cause of heart disease in men and women and the number one cause of death in the United States overall. According to several major studies, there is a link between ED and the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels. Because the endothelium is damaged, it will have a difficult time relaxing, and thus not let blood flow to the penis.
Diabetes is one of the most linked disease states to ED. The connection is so strong that men with diabetes are up to 6 times more likely to develop ED because the disease not only disturbs blood flow but also damages the nerves. This also has a one-two punch because diabetes can also lead to strokes and heart attacks.
4) Liver Disease
This disease is linked to ED due to its ability to destroy testosterone production, which leads to decreased sex drive. People who have liver disease have elevated levels of the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and less albumin because this reduces a man’s free testosterone levels. As drive drops, so do erections.
Also, if liver disease is caused by alcoholism, that delivers an additional chance of ED since alcohol abuse can damage the arteries that provide blood to the penis.
This fifth disease state linked to prostate cancer is a bit of a sticky wicket. There isn’t enough clinical data to show that dementia causes ED or vice versa. However, both have the same risk factors, like elevated cholesterol, diabetes, and atherosclerosis, for instance. There is also a study from 2015 that shows that men with ED are over 1.6 times more likely to develop dementia than men who do not suffer from the disorder.
6) Prostate Cancer
Okay, so prostate cancer itself isn’t linked to ED; however, the treatments commonly used to fight that cancer, such as surgery or radiation, can cause it. This is because both can damage the nerves and blood vessels, leading to a lack of blood flow to the penis.
How to Treat ED
Men with ED can feel like it’s a lost cause. This is such a pervasive feeling that almost 75 percent of men who have ED do not seek treatment out of embarrassment or shame. However, there is hope. Many men who make lifestyle changes have reduced or reversed their ED. Creating healthy habits in sleep, diet, exercise, and stress management are the key to healthy erectile function.
Other things can help men with ED. There are many popular medications out there that can treat ED. Men can also choose to use a specially formulated penis health oil (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which has been clinically proven safe and mild for skin) to help them boost blood flow to the penis. These oils contain nutrients like L-arginine and vitamin C, both of which have been shown to be vasodilators, making it easier for blood vessels to relax and open, allowing blood to flood the penis for a firm erection. Use daily for best results.