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It’s a well-established fact that high cholesterol levels impair many bodily functions. News of its ill effects has circulated in most forms of mainstream media, and there’s often a negative connotation attached to this medical term.
And while the negative stigma surrounding cholesterol doesn’t display the full picture, there’s a hint of truth to its marred reputation.
High and uncontrolled cholesterol levels are a risk factor for health complications like high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This is because of how the build-up of LDL—or low-density lipoprotein—in the blood vessels obstructs healthy blood flow circulation.
With that said, you may wonder: Do high cholesterol and ED also share an intimate link? More specifically, can high cholesterol cause ED?
The short answer is, you guessed it, yes. There’s a well-established link between high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction.
However, unlike erectile dysfunction, high cholesterol is also largely asymptomatic, meaning you’ll have to get tested for it to determine your actual measurement.
Let’s look at the mechanisms behind cholesterol and erectile function, as well as how having high cholesterol could lead to erectile dysfunction. Furthermore, let’s look into treatment plans men can get to help maintain an erection.
What is Cholesterol? Its Impact on the Body
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that’s found in the body and certain foods. It’s produced in the liver and travels throughout the body through the bloodstream, being a lipophilic substance.
It serves several key important functions such as aiding digestion, producing sex hormones, and building body tissues. To do so, cholesterol attaches to proteins to form lipoproteins, which then carry out these functions.
There are two types of cholesterol in the body, HDL and LDL. When there are elevated amounts of these cholesterol, they can accelerate conditions like atherosclerosis. Here are the two types in more detail:
- HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein): Often called “good” cholesterol, HDL takes excess cholesterol from the arteries and eliminates it through the liver. Normal HDL levels can protect against heart disease; however, if they’re too elevated, they can be harmful.
- LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein): Known as “bad” cholesterol, LDL can accumulate in arteries, leading to plaque formation and increasing atherosclerosis risk. Lowering LDL below 100 mg/dL is crucial for cardiovascular health.
There’s typically a higher number of LDL than HDL in the body. An ideal total cholesterol to HDL ratio is 3.5:1, while the typical ratio is usually 5:1.
However, actual numbers depend on the lifestyle factors, medical history, and genetics of the individual. Your doctor will administer a blood test called a lipid profile to test whether you have healthy cholesterol levels or not.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition wherein the body is unable to sustain or attain an erection despite sexual arousal. ED is a fairly common condition, affecting tens of millions of men in the US alone.
It’s often caused by either impaired brain signals due to underlying psychological conditions or a lack of proper blood flow directed to the erectile chambers.
But what makes blood flow volume decrease in the penis anyway? There are several culprits for this, but one primary one is high cholesterol levels.
The Connection Between Cholesterol and Erectile Dysfunction
The relationship between cholesterol and erectile dysfunction is closely intertwined for two main reasons.
High cholesterol causes the following:
- The natural degradation of the arterial walls in the penis
- The diminished ability of the body to properly release nitric oxide
High cholesterol can lead to arterial narrowing and decreased blood flow, a condition known as atherosclerosis. It can affect all parts of the body, including the penis. This reduced blood flow leads to erectile dysfunction.
Nitric oxide activates the relaxation of the smooth muscle tissue in the penis, causing more blood to enter the penis. When there’s too much cholesterol, however, this function is impaired and attaining an erection becomes much more difficult.
Furthermore, high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction can have overlapping risk factors.
For instance, the presence of health conditions such as gout, heart disease, and diabetes type 2 are often precursors to high cholesterol and ED. The common denominator between the conditions is the impairment in blood flow.
Treatment Plans for Men with High Cholesterol
Besides ED, high cholesterol can cause a slew of health problems. Fortunately, there are ways you can treat the condition and lower your cholesterol levels.
Here are some lifestyle changes you can adopt to improve your cholesterol levels:
- Switch to a heart-healthy diet
- Avoid eating trans fat
- Quit smoking and drinking
- Exercise more often
- Treat underlying health conditions
- Medications like statins may help lower cholesterol
That said, be sure to speak with a medical professional before undergoing major lifestyle changes.
Treatment Plans for Men with Erectile Dysfunction
Dealing with erectile dysfunction can disrupt your sex life. If cholesterol treatment isn’t working for you, you’ll need to undergo more thorough treatments.
If you want to regain your sexual prowess, here are some clinical treatments that can help you rise above ED:
- ED therapy: This therapy uses a combination of prescribed gels, creams, and injections to help men regain sexual function.
- RestoreWave therapy: This non-invasive treatment uses a probe to break plaque in the erectile tissues.
- Surgical procedures: Surgery may be needed for more severe cases of ED
- Psychotherapy: Psychological disorders causing ED can be addressed by a counselor.
Talk with a doctor to determine the right treatment for you.
Your Best Ally to Beat ED is at Orlando, Florida’s Top Male Wellness Center
High cholesterol can at times be combated by making the appropriate lifestyle changes. However, the best and most effective way to recover from erectile dysfunction and high cholesterol is by getting the right treatment in a qualified medical facility.
Need guidance? The medical professionals from Orlando’s top men’s wellness center at Premier Men’s Medical Center offer top treatments for men to rekindle their sexual desire and function. In particular, our clinic specializes in ED treatment, hormone therapy, adrenal fatigue, and other customized healthy living programs.
Reclaim your sexual abilities by scheduling an appointment with us today, your initial consultation and first treatment are completely free.