Most people assume that erectile dysfunction is a health matter that only affects your sexual functions. It makes sense, as the ability to achieve and maintain an erection doesn’t seem like it would affect the rest of your body and physical health, but there are studies indicating otherwise. Research is showing that experiencing erectile dysfunction might also be a sign that you could be experiencing or developing cardiovascular problems.

What Is The Connection Between Erections And Heart Health?


Erectile dysfunction manifests itself with trouble getting an erection, as well as maintaining one. It can also present as reduced sexual arousal. While there are many potential causes of erectile dysfunction, one of the most common ones has to do with blood flow and how the blood moves through your vessels and arteries. The basic process behind achieving and maintaining an erection is a result of blood flowing into that area of your body, meaning that a blood flow problem due to blocked vessels can result in not being able to reach the appropriate level of arousal. This restriction in blood flow throughout your body can come as a result of blocked arteries in connection to cardiovascular disease.  

What Is Considered Cardiovascular Disease?


There’s no catch-all definition for cardiovascular disease. It’s generally the result of plaque buildup in the arteries, which results in poor blood flow throughout the heart and entire body. This poor blood flow can cause a heart attack or stroke when the vessels become blocked. Cardiovascular disease can also include heart failure, which is a result of your heart not pumping blood properly; arrhythmia, an abnormal heart rhythm; or heart valve problems that don’t allow proper blood flow through the heart.

Are The Two Always Related?


Studies indicate that, no, not all men who experience erectile dysfunction also have heart issues. There are many causes for erectile dysfunction, including metabolic syndromes, sleep disorders, prostate disorders, alcoholism or other substance abuse, psychological problems like depression or stress, or physical injuries or surgeries. However, many of the other contributing factors of erectile dysfunction are related to obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. These risk factors also overlap with the causes of cardiovascular disease, meaning that many people experience both. While the studies did find significant overlap in those with cardiovascular disease and those with erectile dysfunction, their sample sizes were limited meaning that further research needs to be done in order to definitively connect the two things.

What Can I Do To Reduce My Risks?


Some of the main risk factors of cardiovascular disease involve lifestyle choices like diet and exercise, which can remain under control with the help of your doctor and support of friends and family. If you’re overweight or obese, or find yourself not maintaining a healthy diet, you should have a conversation with your doctor as to how you can make small changes. Even small amounts of weight loss and moderate exercise can make big changes and put you on the path to a more active life. If you have any questions about or have been experiencing erectile dysfunction, book an appointment with Mississippi Urology Clinic to discuss your concerns.