Heart Disease And Erectile Dysfunction - The Close Connection

Erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence as it is often known, is a common problem among men, which increases in likelihood with age. In many cases, it is caused by stress, tiredness or psychological issues, although it can also have physical causes, such as injury to the penis and health conditions affecting blood flow.

One of the most serious health issues that can contribute to erectile problems, however, is heart disease. This article examines the association between the two conditions in more detail, explains how somebody can go about receiving a diagnosis and outlines the various treatment options available.

Understanding the Link
Although erectile dysfunction often has a psychological cause, a significant percentage of cases have a physical cause and, unless there is physical damage to the penis itself, this physical cause is often restricted blood flow. This is the basic reason why there is an established link between ED and heart disease.

In many cases, heart disease causes a syndrome known as atherosclerosis, which affects arterial blood vessels and results in the clogging of arteries. It is this process which is at the root of many heart attacks and instances of angina. When atherosclerosis affects arteries supplying the penis, it can restrict blood flow to the region.

As a consequence, the sufferer will then find it difficult or impossible to acquire or maintain an erection. Clearly, erectile dysfunction is not, in of itself, an indicator of heart disease. Yet, the link between the two is so strong that experts recommend screening for heart disease when there is no obvious physical or psychological cause.

How to Get Diagnosed

You should visit a doctor to discuss your erectile dysfunction if you experience problems getting or maintaining an erection for any prolonged period. There are various ED treatments available, and your doctor will determine if you are a suitable candidate for any of them. With regards to the risk of heart disease, this is especially important if there is no obvious physical cause, such as injury to the penis, or psychological cause, such as depression or anxiety.

Common symptoms of cardiovascular diseases include chest pain - which may radiate to the shoulders, arms, neck and back - irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, fatigue and swelling in the lower extremities.

Anyone who experiences these problems in conjunction with ED should see a doctor urgently for heart disease screening. Diagnosis may be achieved through a physical exam, echocardiogram, ECG or stress test, although most likely a combination of these diagnostic tools will be utilized to confirm the presence of heart disease.

Treatment Options

In instances where erectile dysfunction has been caused by heart disease, it is usually most beneficial to treat the heart disease first. Lifestyle changes, such as increased levels of physical activity and dietary changes, are the first course of action for most sufferers, although medication may also have a role to play.

Depending on the type of heart disease detected, other treatments may include pacemakers, ventricular assist devices and, in the most serious of cases, revascularization surgery or a heart transplant operation.

Generally, treating the underlying issues will then have a positive effect on the secondary issue of erectile dysfunction. However, if not, there are specific impotence treatments available, including drugs like Viagra and Levitra. These do not usually interfere with heart medications, although they should always be prescribed.

About Author: Dr Felix 
Note: For any queries or clarifications on the content of the article, please reach out to the Author.

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