Hypertension Linked to Erectile Dysfunction

hypertension linked to EDHypertension, which is more commonly known as high blood pressure, increases your risk for serious health conditions including heart attack, stroke, chronic heart failure, and kidney disease. It increases the chances of having your first heart attack as about seven out of ten people who have their first heart attack have high blood pressure. It increases your risk of having your first stroke as eight out of ten people who have their first stroke have high blood pressure. For chronic heart failure, seven out of ten people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure.

Did you know that hypertension is also a major cause of erection dysfunction? One study found that about 49 percent of men ages 40 to 79 with high blood pressure had erectile dysfunction. Another study of men with high blood pressure found that 68 percent of men had some degree of erectile dysfunction. For 45 percent of the men, the condition was severe.

High blood pressure can interfere with erections because it damages the lining of the blood vessels and causes the arteries to harden and narrow (aka atherosclerosis). Limited blood flow means less blood flow to the penis. The causes the smooth muscle in the penis to lose its ability to relax. As a result, there is not enough blood flow to the penis to make it erect. Men with high blood pressure may also have low testosterone.

There are also certain high blood pressure medications that may cause erectile problems. This includes diuretics and beta blockers. Diuretics may decrease the force of blood flow to the penis or decrease the amount of zinc in the body. Zinc is needed to make testosterone. Beta-blockers decrease the response to nerve impulses that produce an erection. This makes it more difficult for the arteries in the penis to widen and let blood flow in.

To reduce these side effects, it is important to take these medications as directed. If the side effects persist, there may be other medications you can take that are less likely to cause side effects. Such medications include ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin II receptor blockers, or alpha blockers. Smoking can also interfere with erections because smoking increases your blood pressures. This happens because damages blood vessels and reduces blood flow all around the body.

There are ways you can lower your blood pressure while improving your sex life. This can be done by not smoking, eating a heathy diet, reducing the amount of salt in your diet, losing weight, getting on the right medications, and exercising regularly.

Photo credit: unsplash.com/Gudbjörn Valgeirsson

David Samadi, MD - Medical Contributor

View posts by David Samadi, MD - Medical Contributor
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel's Medical A-Team. Learn more at roboticoncology.com. Visit Dr. Samadi's blog at SamadiMD.com. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
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