Erectile Dysfunction Risk Factors That Have Nothing to Do With Age

What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (impotence) is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex.

Having erection trouble from time to time isn’t certainly a cause for alarm. However, if erectile dysfunction is a continuing issue, it can cause stress, affect your self-confidence and add to relationship problems. Difficulties in getting or keeping an erection can also be a sign of a primary health condition that requires attention and a risk factor for heart disease.

If you’re worried about ED, talk to your doctor — even if you’re ashamed. Sometimes, treating an underlying condition is enough to reverse erectile dysfunction. In other cases, prescriptions or other direct treatments might be needed.

As any male who has ever suffered from bedroom issues knows, erectile dysfunction disorder or (ED) can take a major toll on self-confidence and romantic relationships. In the absence of a cure, as many as 30 million American men suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED), and 30 percent of those are age 70 and older.

While erectile dysfunction mostly affects older men, new findings prove that age has nothing to do with it now. Fox News went to the experts to identify six medical risk factors that are linked with ED. If you suffer from any of the conditions below, they may be at the root of your performance problems.

erectile dysfunction

6 Most Common Risk Factor for Early Erectile Dysfunction

1. Heart disease

For the majority of men with erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular complications such as arteriolosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and high cholesterol are the source of erectile disorders.

That’s because, to attain an erection, the arteries must permit blood to flow throughout the body, not just in the penis. Anything that obstructs your arteries or narrows arteries is going to affect blood flow, Dr. Dudley Danoff, a urologist in Los Angeles and author of The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health, told Fox News.


In fact, studies propose men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction can have a heart attack or stroke within three to five years.

To check blood flow, your doctor may order a penile doppler ultrasound study, which contains an injection to cause an erection, along with ultrasound imaging. If the amount of blood flowing through the penis is too low, we know that’s usually due to arterial disease, Dr. Peter Stahl, assistant professor of urology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, told Fox News.

Your doctor will refer you to a cardiologist and you may be given a PDE5 inhibitor medication like Viagra, which studies show can help you with your erectile dysfunction and your heart.

In fact, men who had heart attacks and were given PDE5 inhibitors or alprostadil, another type of medication for ED, were 40 percent less likely to be hospitalized for heart failure than men who were not using the drugs, according to a study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session in March.

2. Neurological complications

Any medical illness that affects the brain, the spinal cord or the small autonomic nerve fibers which send nerve signals from the spinal cord to the penis and from the penis to the spinal cord can lead to erectile dysfunction as well.

Men who have multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries or a degenerative disc disease, or those who have had surgery or radiation for prostate, bladder or rectal cancer, can be pretentious. The most common neurological condition that leads to erectile dysfunction and the most difficult to treat is diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage that arises from diabetes.


Although vasodilator medications can help, they will only work in men who have some nerve function, Stahl said.

3. A “leak”

Veno-occlusive dysfunction, or venous seepage, is a problem with the penis ability to trap blood. Within the anatomy of an erection, the penis has two erection chambers that swell and compress the veins that drain blood from the penis. Due to age, diabetes or other problems, the erection chambers can lose their elasticity or pliability and their ability to expand appropriately.

No matter how fast blood hurries in, it leaves just as fast, so those patients can never attain a fully rigid erection, Stahl said. Veno-occlusive dysfunction requires invasive treatment techniques or even a penile implant.

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