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ED & Heart Disease

steffi jones

Erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease go hand in hand. Several studies have revealed that men with erectile dysfunction (ED) are more likely to develop heart disease. Having ED puts you at greater risk of developing heart disease than smoking or having a close family member with heart problems.  

A man with erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence has trouble getting and keeping an adequate erection. However, the circumstance is abnormal for everyone, regardless of age. Premature ejaculation, infertility, or a lack of sex drive are not the same as having an erection problem, even though they may be connected to one.

When you get an erection, the blood vessels in your penis fill up and enlarge because of the excess blood flow. Moreover, an erection is difficult to achieve or maintain if something obstructs the blood flow to your penis’s blood vessels.

Atherosclerosis, a heart disease-related disorder in which the arteries become clogged or hardened, can cause this. Atherosclerosis commonly affects the small blood veins and arteries in the body, including those in the penis. Erectile dysfunction might be an indication of heart disease.

Erectile dysfunction is not usually a sign of a heart problem. However, studies reveal that men with erectile dysfunction who do not have a known cause (such as trauma) and who do not display indications of heart disease should be evaluated for heart disease before initiating medication for the problem. Moreover, researchers recommend that men with erectile dysfunction who do not have an apparent explanation (such as trauma) or evidence of heart disease have their cholesterol levels checked first before starting medication.

What are the root reasons for erectile dysfunction?

Three things must happen to get an erection:

  • The penis’s nerves must be working properly for this to happen
  • Penis blood flow must be sufficient.
  • Brain activity is required as a trigger

A full erection will not be possible if any of these conditions are not met.

Diseases that are frequently linked to erectile dysfunction include:

Vascular disease: Diseases of the blood vessels are known as vascular diseases. Among them are atherosclerosis, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol. Seventy percent of the physical causes of ED may be traced back to disorders that restrict blood flow to the heart, brain, and—in the case of ED—the penis 50-60% of ED cases in males over 60 are caused solely by atherosclerosis.

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Diabetes: Having diabetes increases the risk of having problems getting an erection because it damages nerves and arteries. Between 35 and 50% of diabetic males develop erectile dysfunction.

Kidney disease: Kidney disease can alter hormones, circulation, nerve function, and energy levels. These modifications have the potential to reduce a person’s libido (sexual drive) or sexual prowess. ED can be exacerbated by drugs used to treat kidney illness.

Neurological disease: Erections are closely linked to the health of the neurological system, which can be affected by a variety of conditions. It’s not uncommon for men suffering from disorders like ED such as stroke, MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or spinal cord injuries. This is due to a snag in the nerve impulses traveling from the brain to the penis.

Prostate cancer: While prostate cancer does not cause ED on its own, treatment for prostate cancer can result in erectile dysfunction (ED).

ED can be caused by a variety of other factors, including:

  • stress, despair, and anxiety about performance are examples of psychological factors
  • damage to the penis
  • chronic illness
  • a few prescription drugs
  • Peyronie’s disease is the medical term for this ailment (scar tissue in the penis)
  • surgery to treat cancers of the prostate, bladder, or colon
  • It is impossible to keep up an erection when the penile veins leak blood while erections are taking place.
  • ED can also be brought on by cigarette use, alcoholism, and drug use.
  • In persons with atherosclerosis, smoking is a major risk factor for developing erectile dysfunction (ED).
  • There are about 200 different types of prescription medications that can lead to erectile dysfunction.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is the fat form found in your blood. Regardless of what you consume, your body produces some cholesterol on its own. Foods include cholesterol as well.

When it comes to cholesterol, what exactly is wrong with it?

To keep you healthy, your body makes plenty of cholesterol on its own. Overeating on cholesterol and fat raises blood cholesterol levels in the majority of Americans. Cholesterol levels that are too high can result in heart disease.

What is the upper limit for safe levels of cholesterol?

A person’s cholesterol level is influenced by several different factors, such as:

  • the difference between your HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
  • your overall level of triglycerides
  • your total number of heart disease risk factors
  • your age and amount of physical activity
  • your present physical and mental health
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Excess LDL cholesterol builds up in the arteries, which supply the heart and brain with blood. Plaque, a thick, hard deposit in the blood vessel that leads to atherosclerosis, can be formed when these deposits combine with other substances. Plaque can constrict the artery’s path, cutting off blood flow to the heart and genital region.

Risk factors for ED and heart disease

Many of the risk factors for both erectile dysfunction and heart disease are the same.

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Depression
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)


Both erectile dysfunction (ED) and heart disease become more common as you age. In younger males, the link between these diseases is stronger. It’s much more likely that if you get ED before the age of 50, it’s a symptom of underlying cardiac problems. When it occurs after the age of 70, there is considerably less of a chance that it is caused by heart disease.


Additionally, being overweight or obese increases one’s a risk of heart disease, stroke, blood vessel disease, and sexual dysfunction.


By damaging your blood vessels and raising your risk of atherosclerosis, smoking harms your heart and arteries. Tobacco consumption has been associated with ED as well, according to research. 8,367 Australian men between the ages of 16 and 59 were surveyed for research published in Tobacco Control in 2006. When it came to smoking and erectile dysfunction, the researchers discovered a strong connection.


It was shown that males with type 2 diabetes who also had erectile dysfunction (ED) but had no other symptoms of cardiovascular illness were more likely to develop coronary heart disease. Diabetes raises a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, they are also more likely than non-diabetics to acquire ED.

High blood cholesterol

Cholesterol levels that are too high might cause harm to your arteries as well. As a result of a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries, your blood flow may be restricted. Both erectile dysfunction (ED) and heart disease might be worse as a result.


It is well known that depression increases the risk of developing erectile dysfunction as well as heart disease. There is evidence that males with sexual dysfunction and severe depressive symptoms may be at greater risk of cardiovascular events, according to research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

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Hypertension (high blood pressure)

The lining of your arteries can be damaged and blood flow impaired if your blood pressure is elevated for an extended period. There is evidence that this has an impact on your ability to get and keep an erection. About 30% of men with high blood pressure had erectile dysfunction, according to a study in the journal Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension from 2012.


Even with their doctors, many men with ED find it difficult to bring up the subject. However, you must discuss your symptoms with your physician. If you suspect that heart disease is the cause of your ED, go to your doctor.

You can discuss treatment options and a possible cure plan with your doctor if you suffer from ED or another illness that is linked to it. Get the care you need sooner by getting diagnosed early. Early treatment of heart disease has the potential to extend your life.

The ED drugs sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis) work by boosting the level of the neurotransmitter nitric oxide in the cavernous smooth muscle of the penis. It reduces the tension in the penis’ smooth muscles and promotes blood flow there. Online ed medication websites make these drugs readily available.

In addition to prescription medications, your doctor may suggest making lifestyle changes. These alterations may improve your erectile dysfunction (ED) while simultaneously protecting your heart’s health.

As an illustration, your doctor might suggest you:

  • Change your dietary habits
  • Get more active physically
  • Reduce your weight
  • Reduce your alcohol intake
  • Stop using tobacco products.

These adjustments can help protect your arteries and blood vessels, which in turn can improve your cardiovascular health and sexual performance.

Surgical treatment

After trying an oral medication and failing, men may try second-line therapies that include intraurethral prostaglandins, penile injection therapy, hormone therapy, or a vacuum erection device that are not as effective as the oral agent. To alleviate their discomfort, these patients may be candidates for surgical procedures such as penile angioplasty, penile redistribution, or the installation of penile prostheses.

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