Don’t make the mistake of assuming your erectile dysfunction (ED) is “no big deal.” Although it can be as harmless and temporary as a few too many alcoholic drinks, regular episodes of ED may signal more serious health problems. Here are a few to discuss with your doctor.
Losing those extra 30 pounds is about more than looking attractive for your significant other. Obesity can contribute to ED by lowering testosterone levels, which are vital to sexual functioning. Being obese also means you’re more likely to have any of the following conditions, compared to a man who is at a healthy weight.
Excessive fatty lipids in the bloodstream form plaque, which narrows blood flow to the arteries, including those to the penis. Get your cholesterol under control by quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising regularly and eating heart-healthy foods.
Even small changes in your diet can reduce your cholesterol. Start by eliminating trans fats and increasing your soluble fiber intake, which helps lower your LDS (or “bad”) cholesterol levels. Add whey protein to your diet, as it has been shown to lower LDL and total cholesterol levels. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help increase your HDS (or “good”) cholesterol, reducing your blood pressure and your triglycerides (fat in your blood).
One of the greatest risk factors for ED, diabetes narrows blood vessels. In addition, diabetes causes nerve damage, which can affect a man’s ability to get and maintain an erection.
For men with artherosclerosis, the disease process behind heart disease, ED tends to occur about three years before symptoms of heart disease (such as chest pain) manifest.
High blood pressure
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure pushes blood more forcefully, which harms blood vessels. If you’re already taking medications for high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about the possibility of them causing your ED.
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