Men at risk of getting ED

Most men have erectile dysfunction at times. There are several degrees of severity. Some males are unable to get an erection, others are able to attain an erection irregularly, and still others can maintain only brief erections. But when erection problems become regular, they can affect men's self-esteem, sex life, and relationship. Below are common risk factors specified by doctors.

• Age: ED is commoner in 40-year-olds and those who are over. Nonetheless, younger men are reported to have erectile dysfunction now and again. Vascular problems: Since the penis needs sufficient blood flow to become erect, vascular disorders, or arteriosclerosis are very often to put the blame on. About half of males with diabetes that brings on a constriction of the arteries are reported to have erectile dysfunction. Hypertension or other blood vessel disorders, high cholesterol or low HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol put a man at risk of developing erectile dysfunction.

• Hormonal changes: Hormonal imbalances, caused by thyroid gland problems and low testosterone levels, can affect erections. Neurological disorders: ED can also be caused by damage to penile nerves brought on by diabetes, multiple sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson's disease. Moreover, operation or radiation to the prostate, bladder, rectum or urethra can intervene with nerve signals between the brain and sex organs, therefore impeding erections.

• Adverse side-effects of medicines and substance abuse: About 25% of men are reported to have erectile dysfunction triggered by some prescription drugs, such as medications used to treat hypertention and depression. Alcoholism, drug abuse and chain smoking affect erections at any age.

• Psychological risk factors: Erections can be badly affected by depression, stress, fear of inability to satisfy a partner, relationship problems, major changes in life (divorce, redundancy, loss or death of a partner).

Minimizing the risk
• To give up smoking
• To stop using drugs or abusing alcohol
• To consume less fat to keep the cholesterol level low
• To lose weight (especially if you are corpulent), to have a healthy nutritious diet, and do exercises regularly to lower the risk of diabetes.
• To treat hypertension
• To minimize stress and anxiety by taking a more relaxed approach to lovemaking and by talking to your sexual partner about your worries
• To spend more time on sexual stimulation before sex to be able to achieve and maintain an erection, in particular as a male becomes older.

If you think you have ED, talk to your doctor. He or she can advise, treat and, if necessary, send you to a urologist, a physician specializing in erectile dysfunction.

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