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What Can Erectile Dysfunction Tell Me About My Overall Health?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common sexual health issue in men, and it is characterized by the failure to get or maintain an erection on a regular basis. You do not have an ED if you only occasionally have this difficulty.
Many people mistakenly assume that ED stems from psychological problems. However, various studies also associate the condition with vascular (circulatory) issues as well as factors affecting your endocrine and nervous systems.
Therefore, erectile dysfunction can indeed be a symptom of another underlying health issue. Let’s talk about what ED might tell you about your overall health and where you can go for an evaluation and treatment.
Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes
In many men, ED is largely due to their type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar does not only damage the blood vessels, but it also affects the nerves that are responsible for proper erectile function.
A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that approximately 50% of the men included in the study who had diabetes also had ED.
ED and Nerve Damage
Many neurological conditions also increase the possibility of erectile dysfunction. Nerve damage can hamper the brain’s ability to send and interpret signals and to communicate with the reproductive system. Therefore, if the nerves are not working normally, it can result in a man having erectile dysfunction.
Some of the health conditions that can cause nerve damage and lead to ED are as follows:
- Parkinson’s disease;
- Alzheimer’s disease;
- multiple sclerosis;
Erectile dysfunction may also be due to nerve damage from surgery or cancer treatment.
Likewise, some of your activities affect the functionality of the nerves. An example of this is for long-distance bicyclists. This activity places repeated pressure on the perineum (a region from the anus to the scrotum), compressing nerves and causing numbness. This can lead to temporary impotence. A narrow bike seat can also impair proper blood flow to the genitals.
Erectile Dysfunction and Heart Disease
Studies show that erectile dysfunction can also be an early warning sign of heart disease.
Men can get an erection thanks to proper blood flow, but this won’t happen if something interferes and hampers the blood flow. If a man has atherosclerosis – the buildup of plaque in the artery walls, or “hardening of the arteries” – in the arteries that supply blood to the penis, erectile dysfunction can likely occur.
Erectile Dysfunction Treatment
Some people might view erectile dysfunction as harmless, but it can significantly affect your lifestyle. ED also tells you much about your overall health, as it may be a symptom of an underlying health condition. Once the underlying condition is addressed and treated, the ED is often resolved.
At our clinic, we are committed to helping you restore and maintain your confidence and virility. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today.