Understanding Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. It is also sometimes also referred to as impotence.Occasional ED is not uncommon. Many men experience it during times of stress. However, frequent ED can be a sign of health problems that need treatment. It can also be a sign of emotional or relationship difficulties.
The prevalence of ED increases with age. ED affects only four percent of men in their 50s, but nearly 17 percent of men in their 60s. Furthermore, almost half of all men over the age of 75 will suffer from ED.
Although the risk of ED increases with age, ED is not an inevitable consequence of getting older. It may be more difficult to get an erection as you age, but that does not necessarily you mean you will develop ED. In general, the healthier a man is, the better his sexual function.
What are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
You may have erectile dysfunction if you regularly have:
Trouble getting an erection
Difficulty maintaining an erection during sexual activities
Reduced interest in sex
Other sexual disorders related to ED include:
anorgasmia, which is the inability to achieve orgasm after ample stimulation
You should talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms, especially if they've lasted for two or more months. Your doctor can determine if your sexual disorder is caused by an underlying condition that requires treatment.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
There are many possible causes for ED, and they can include both emotional and physical disorders. Some common causes are:
damage from cancer or surgery
obesity or being overweight
ED can be caused by only one of these factors or several.
Diabetes and ED
It is estimated that about 35% to 75% of men with diabetes will experience at least some degree of erectile dysfunction -- also called ED or impotence -- during their lifetime.
Men with diabetes tend to develop erectile dysfunction 10 to 15 years earlier than men without diabetes. As men with diabetes age, erectile dysfunction becomes even more common. Above the age of 50, the likelihood of having difficulty with an erection occurs in approximately 50% to 60% of men with diabetes. Above age 70, there is about a 95% likelihood of having some difficulty with erectile dysfunction.
The causes of erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes are complex and involve impairments in nerve, blood vessel, and muscle function.
To get an erection, men need healthy blood vessels, nerves, male hormones, and a desire to be sexually stimulated. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves that control erection. Therefore, even if you have normal amounts of male hormones and you have the desire to have sex, you still may not be able to achieve a firm erection.
ED Problems and Heart Disease
The blood supply to your penis starts in your heart and flows through arteries in the belly to even smaller arteries that branch off to carry blood into the penis. With sexual stimulation, these blood vessels need to rapidly increase blood flow. If these blood vessels are blocked (atherosclerosis) by coronary artery disease, you may not be able to achieve or maintain an erection.
Heart disease and erectile dysfunction can be related. In fact, ED and heart disease are considered two signs of the same disease process. The smaller arteries in the penis are affected by atherosclerosis sooner, perhaps three or more years before they cause heart disease symptoms.
A large international study found that men with ED were more likely to die from heart causes; have a heart attack, stroke or be admitted to the hospital with heart failure than men with no or mild ED. Erectile dysfunction (ED) precedes coronary artery disease (CAD) in almost 70% of cases.
You may reduce your risk of ED by improving your heart health. Healthy lifestyle choices often encourage you to stop smoking, lose weight and increase physical activity.