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Am I at Risk for Erectile Dysfunction?

  • Tuesday 13 April 2021
  • 4 minute(s) read

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When to See a Doctor for ED

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most common sexual problem men experience in their lifetime. Over 30 million men report ED problems to their doctors every year. ED occurs when an erection cannot be maintained long enough to have intercourse. This condition is very common, but it is not a normal occurrence and should be treated promptly. Many men may feel embarrassed or ashamed to discuss their erectile dysfunction symptoms, but there is no reason to be nervous. Your doctor likely sees hundreds of men a year with the same problem as you. 1

If you experience trouble getting an erection, have a reduced interest in sex, and have difficulty maintaining an erection, you should talk to your doctor. There are several ED meds online to assist in symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Read on to learn if you are at risk of developing ED. 2

Smoking and Erectile Dysfunction

We all know that smoking harms the lungs, but it affects nearly every area of the body, including the genitals. Those who smoke are twice as likely to develop ED as nonsmokers. When you smoke a cigarette, your blood pressure and pulse rise, which can have long-term complications and lead to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a build-up of fatty deposits in the vessels and causes the vessel walls to lose elasticity. This can obstruct blood flow and lead to a loss of total circulation. 

several cigarettes in an ashtray

If the vessels are full of plaque build-up, then blood may not reach the penis properly. If blood is not circulating properly, you may not achieve and maintain an erection. If you need help quitting smoking, talk to your doctor about successful ways to wean yourself off cigarettes and improve your health. Your overall bodily health improves the minute you quit smoking.  3 

Poorly Managed Diabetes 

Much like smoking, diabetes affects the entire body over time. Type 2 diabetes occurs when there is too much sugar circulating in the bloodstream, and the cells cannot properly absorb glucose as energy. Unregulated blood sugar levels can cause serious issues with the eyes, heart, and nerves. 

If your type 2 diabetes is not managed well, increased glucose levels can target small blood vessels and nerves. This constriction of small vessels can inhibit blood flow to the male reproductive system. It can also damage nerves that control sexual stimulation and affect a man’s ability to achieve an erection. 4

Extra Weight and ED

Being overweight can lead to many health complications, including heart disease, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. You are at risk for ED if you have any of these conditions, but your risk is compounded if you are overweight.

a person measuring their waist

A person is classified as obese if they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. Age, sex, ethnicity, and muscle mass can also affect your BMI and body fat levels. 5 If you are overweight or your doctor has classified you as obese, you are much more likely to experience ED because of its accompanying conditions. 6 

Alcohol Consumption and ED

Many people may have a drink or two to settle their jitters and increase their confidence, but it often has the opposite effect on a man’s sex life. Alcohol is a depressant and dampens your mood as well as your sexual desire. If you consume more than your recommended daily alcohol consumption (two drinks a day for men), it can make it difficult for a man to achieve erections or orgasm.

Drinking can cause temporary erectile dysfunction but may increase your risk of long-term ED as well. Research shows that men dependent on alcohol have a 60 to 70 percent chance of developing sexual function problems. Other studies show that sober men can achieve an erection more quickly than intoxicated men. Having a few drinks is not entirely detrimental to your health, but if you are already at risk for ED, you may want to cut back to improve your personal life. 7 

Stress & Anxiety

There are several physical reasons behind ED. Older men are more associated with ED, but younger men can experience it as well. The causes of ED are often intertwined, and stress may increase the risk of other ED-causing disorders, like obesity, alcohol consumption, heart disease, and high cholesterol.

a person holding up a sad face drawn on paper

Around 90 percent of young men and teenagers experience some form of psychological ED. Most men get over this nervousness as time goes on. Other causes of psychological ED include personal and professional stress, like relationship troubles. Loneliness or the loss of a partner can also severely impact a man’s sexual performance. Other possible life events linked to stress-related ED include:

  • Financial burdens
  • Changes in health
  • Illness or loss of a loved one
  • Job problems
  • Relationship conflicts 8

If you are experiencing frequent ED symptoms, you may want to detail any factors that may influence your erectile dysfunction. This allows your doctor to narrow down the causes and make a treatment plan in the future. Luckily, these risk factors can be changed with lifestyle improvements, but erectile dysfunction treatment may be prescribed if your condition is severe.

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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