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Heart disease is one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide; and in the United States, it’s the number one cause of death, with 1 out of 4 deaths being attributed to coronary heart disease.
If you or a loved one have a family history of heart disease—or have health conditions and lifestyle habits that may exacerbate the risk of the condition—it’s important to deal with these issues before they progressively get worse.
One of the conditions that many people suspect to cause heart disease is erectile dysfunction, or ED for short. This condition is characterized by the inability to stay erect despite being sexually aroused.
And if you’re wondering if ED can lead to cardiovascular disease, the answer to your question is yes. Multiple studies have shown that there are clear and established links connecting erectile dysfunction and heart disease.
Let’s break down the links between erectile dysfunction and heart disease, as well as ways you can undergo cardiovascular risk factor reduction through lifestyle and clinical remedies.
How Do Erections Form?
Erections are not solely manifested by the genitals; they are the result of a complex interaction between the brain, hormones, muscles, and blood vessels all over the body.
The erection chain starts when there’s a presence of a physical or mental stimulus. When aroused, your brain sends signals to the rest of the body through your nerves and blood vessels. These signals allow blood to flow to the penis and the erectile chamber to expand.
Furthermore, hormones like testosterone also play a role in facilitating this process. Your overall psychological state is also crucial in influencing your sexual function.
When there’s a problem in any part of this chain, you may experience a limitation in your erectile function. In persistent cases, this can lead to erectile dysfunction.
For instance, when your body has too little testosterone or if your mood is gloomy, your brain won’t be stimulated enough to promote an erection.
If your heart is not strong enough to pump blood, or if there’s plaque build-up in the blood vessels, your erectile chambers won’t expand.
These problems not only interfere with your sexual health, but they can also have severe ramifications on your cardiovascular health. It can even underscore a high risk of developing future coronary artery disease.
Let’s take a look at how ED can predict future cardiovascular events.
What Are the Risk Factors Shared With ED and Heart Disease?
There’s a close relationship between erectile function and cardiovascular function. If there are signs of one, this may indicate problems in the other.
That said, these are just shared risk factors—not direct causations. Still, it’s important to address CVD symptoms to reduce the risk of adverse future outcomes.
Here are some overlapping erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular risk factors men need to know:
Many of these risk factors can indicate the presence of either condition or both of them simultaneously.
If you want to stay on top of your health, it’s important to address these issues directly by dealing with the exact symptoms with the proper treatment plan.
The Connection Between ED and Heart Disease
Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of heart disease. In fact, men with ED are 2.5 times more likely to develop heart complications than men without ED.
The connection between ED and heart problems can be boiled down to three major links:
- Shared risk factors
- Endothelial dysfunction
- Poor vascular health
Firstly, the above risk factors shared by ED and heart disease are things that can’t be ignored. Diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health problems can be both a cause of ED and an early warning sign for heart disease.
This is also the case for people who have poor lifestyle habits like staying seated all day or eating a bad diet.
Secondly, endothelial dysfunction—a condition wherein the blood vessel walls constrict instead of dilate—can also occur in cases of erectile dysfunction and heart disease. The endothelium refers to the inner lining of the blood vessel.
When there’s a dysfunction, it can lead to insufficient blood flow to the heart and penis, causing both heart disease and ED.
General poor vascular health can also indicate ED and future heart disease.
Atherosclerosis—a common underlying condition that can underscore ED—is the term used to refer to plaque build-up in the blood vessels. Besides increasing ED risk, it can also cause cardiovascular-related symptoms like chest pain and impaired blood flow.
Treating Erectile Dysfunction: Clinical and General Treatment Options
If you don’t have symptoms of cardiovascular disease just yet, you should seek treatment for underlying ED concerns. This can help you slow down the progression of peripheral vascular disease and keep you healthy for years or decades to come.
Here are some general lifestyle changes you should adopt to improve ED symptoms:
- Regular physical activity like running and cycling
- Eating nutrient-rich foods with proteins, zinc, Vitamin B, C, and D.
- Sleeping regularly and managing stress sources
- Avoiding vices like alcohol and recreational drugs
Furthermore, you should also consider treating ED in a clinical setting. These are some treatments you may be prescribed depending on your case’s severity and type:
Not all of these treatments are effective for all cases, so talk with a trusted doctor beforehand.
Improve Your Health Outcomes with Trusted ED Specialists at One of Orlando, Florida’s Top Male Medical Facilities
If you have symptoms of erectile dysfunction, it’s important to get the appropriate remedies to treat erectile dysfunction immediately.
It takes around 3 years for symptoms of peripheral vascular disease to pop up in about 75% of cases of men with erectile dysfunction, so if you can do so, try to explore better lifestyle habits and clinical treatments for yourself.
Need guidance? The medical team at Premier Men’s Medical Center is more than happy to help you with erectile dysfunction therapy, hormone therapy, adrenal fatigue treatment, premature ejaculation treatment, and more.
Talk with one of our doctors to get the appropriate treatment for you. Your initial consultation and first treatment are completely free.