Erectile dysfunction can signal heart disease. You may be aware that the inability of your arteries to dilate fully and to subsequently harden, also known as atherosclerosis, is a major cause of heart disease and can lead to stroke, heart attack and sudden death. In a nutshell, this occurs because as the inner lining of your blood vessels undergoes damage and dysfunction and plaque accumulates, the subsequent narrowing and hardening of your arteries makes it harder for blood to flow through them and reach your heart and other organs. As the disease process unfolds the smaller arteries in your body, such as those in the penis, often get blocked first, before the larger arteries leading to your heart.
Erectile dysfunction affects as many as one in ten males.
It is important to seek health care advice as, in the vast majority of cases, appropriate investigations and treatments are successful in restoring potency.
- Stress, overwork and tiredness are among the commonest causes of loss of sex drive and impotence. Taking time out for rest, relaxation and plenty of sleep are important. Reducing alcohol intake to no more than two glasses of beer per day is important. A regular work out at the gym increases secretion of hormones important for sexual function.
- Extracts from the ginkgo biloba tree improve blood flow to the peripheries as well as the brain, and have been shown to strengthen erections.
- Taking specific vitamin and mineral supplements will help to guard against nutritional deficiencies, while evening primrose oil provides essential fatty acids and natural sterols that can normalize sex hormone balance. Also, viagra increases sexual desire and improves erections.
- Taking the herb tribulus for just five days has been shown to increase testosterone levels in some healthy men by around 30 per cent. A trial involving 50 male patients with low sex drive due to lethargy, fatigue and lack of interest in daily activities showed a 45 per cent improvement in symptoms with tribulus. It has diuretic actions and is also taken to reduce high blood pressure and as a liver stimulant.
- Some studies have found that vitamins E intake is linked with lung function in older men. For example, for every 100IU increase in vitamin E supplementation, the amount of air that can be blown out in one second increases by 42mls and is very useful for men involved in sexual activities.
- The volatile, aromatic oils of damiana have a stimulant and gently irritating effect on the genitals to produce localized tingling and throbbing sensations. Its alkaloids may also boost circulation to the genital area and increase sensitivity of nerve endings in the penis. Blood flow to the penis also increases so that erections are firmer and more long lasting.
It does not therefore mean that erectile dysfunction causes heart problems, but, more likely, that both share a common pathology of the blood vessels known as endothelial dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction, therefore, is a biomarker for heart disease. It means if you have it you need to get your heart health checked out right away as well as implementing life style changes, dietary changes and certain nutritional supplements.
Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Dr Peter Chun-Yip Tong, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine & Therapeutics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, advised that erectile dysfunction is a very strong indicator of heart disease.