Erectile Dysfunction – A Cardiovascular Canary
Erectile dysfunction, also known as “ED,” is a global sexual health problem affecting more than 30% of men between 40 and 70 years of age. In the US alone, over 18 million men are estimated to have ED. Commonly known causes include low testosterone, medication, heavy alcohol use, and depression.
What is less well known is the correlation between erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease. Experts now know that dysfunction in the inner linings of blood vessels and smooth muscle can limit blood flow to the penis. This dysfunction also aids the development of atherosclerosis, build-up of plaque in the arteries. Because the first stage of atherosclerosis often affects the penis first, ED can therefore serve as a canary in the coal mine for life threatening cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and strokes.
So what can be done? As recommended in many other disease-fighting plans, maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise helps. Diets high in flavonoids, found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, also correlate with lower ED risk. A critical third activity is to have ED evaluated by a healthcare professional such as those at WellNow, not just for sexual health issues but also for long term cardiovascular wellbeing.