Erectile dysfunction, quite simply, is the inability to have or maintain an erection hard enough for satisfactory sex. It remains one of the most common untreated conditions. Are you at risk?
Anything that hinders any of the structures or elements (such as the nerves, muscles, blood vessels or chemicals) involved in the erection process can contribute to erectile dysfunction, or ED.
Answer the following questions and assess your level of risk…
Do you have heart disease, hypertension or high cholesterol?
Disorders like these narrow arteries or decrease blood flow and contribute to 40% of ED cases. A vascular abnormality in the veins of the penis, for example, would cause blood to drain too quickly and you wouldn’t be able to maintain an erection.
Do you smoke?
Pfizer’s research has shown that a pack-a-day smoker is 50% more likely to develop ED than a non-smoker of the same age.
Do you suffer from diabetes or any other endocrine disorder?
Diabetes or a testosterone deficiency plays a part in some 36% of ED cases. According to the World Health Organisation, 50% of men with diabetes develop ED, often within 10 years of diagnosis.
Have you suffered nerve damage due to injury, surgery or radiation therapy?
Damage to any nerves leading to or from the penis is a contributing factor in 24% of ED cases. Nerve injuries can also result from spinal diseases, multiple sclerosis or peripheral nerve disorders.
Do you suffer from anxiety or stress?
Often ED is caused by a combination of physical and emotional factors. Stress, guilt, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem have all been linked to ED. In about one in 10 cases, an emotional problem could be the single cause.
Do you take sleeping pills, antidepressants or medication for hypertension?
ED is a potential side-effect of many common medications.
Do you use recreational drugs, binge drink or consume more than three alcoholic drinks a day?
Drugs and alcohol are known to sap the sex drive and contribute to ED.
Are you overweight?
According to Pfizer, every 9kg of excess weight can lead to a 3% decline in erectile function.
If you answer yes to any of the above questions, you have an increased risk of developing erectile dysfunction.
- (Robert Whitaker)