Several studies have confirmed that erectile dysfunction leads to added stress and performance pressure in men. While it affects the psychological state of the individual suffering from it, erectile dysfunction also takes a toll on physical health. The common causes that lead to erectile dysfunction are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and prostate gland infections. However, they have a proportional relation. Erectile dysfunction can also be an underlying cause of the above-mentioned health problems and more.
Erectile dysfunction is often described as a sentinel symptom, which means that it can indicate a more serious underlying diseases, such as atherosclerosis, diabetes or depression. The risk of a cardiovascular problem is twice as high in a diabetic or a hypertensive patient suffering from erectile dysfunction.
Here are six health conditions or chronic diseases linked to erectile dysfunction:
- Cardiovascular diseases:
In the case of ED, arteries that supply blood to the penis get blocked. These are similar to the arteries supplying blood to the heart. Hence, as ED progresses, the other arteries start getting damaged leading to heart ailments. Study reveals that ED can be a strong predictive factor of cardiovascular diseases. Researchers cite that men with erectile dysfunction are at risk of cardiovascular problems within 3 to 5 years. However, the treatment of erectile dysfunction has a positive impact on the cardiovascular health of an individual.
Type II diabetes is a generally silent disease, often diagnosed a few years after its onset. Diabetes-related complications can appear at the onset of erectile dysfunction but remain silent for many years.
Despite an extremely codified therapeutic management and the numerous treatments of diabetes available, it is necessary to insist that men with ED opt for early detection of diabetes, prevention (control of glycaemia) and the correction of associated risk factors. If not addressed in time, diabetes becomes irreversible. In about 10% of cases, erectile dysfunction reveals diabetes which makes it even more important to consult your doctor.
3. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
BPH is often found in elderly patients who complain of erectile dysfunction. Like other chronic ailments such as cardiovascular diseases and depression, BPH and ED are among the pathologies having a very negative impact on an individual’s quality of life.
BPH and ED appear to be strongly linked. In a survey of 4,883 men aged 30 to 80 in Germany, the prevalence of ED was 19.2%, increasing rapidly with age (2.3% between 30 and 39 years, 53.4 % between 70 and 80). Subjects with ED had more symptoms of the lower urinary tract, mainly related to BPH, with a prevalence of 72.2% compared to 37.7% in men without ED.
Men suffering from erectile dysfunction are at 1.68 times higher risk of dementia. While there is not enough research to support the direct link between dementia and ED, one cannot rule out that erectile dysfunction has an impact on cognitive health. Both dementia and ED further lead to atherosclerosis, high cholesterol and diabetes.
5. Androgen deficiency
ED may be the inaugural symptom of an androgen deficiency that has been evolving for some time. The study of treated patients shows that androgen therapy helps restore libido and satisfactory sexual activity. Improving sexuality probably involves an intervention on desire, since no direct link has been found between testosterone levels and quality of erection.
6. Prostate cancer
Surgery for prostate cancer is often the leading causes of erectile dysfunction. Since the symptoms for both prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction are common, studies were conducted to establish a link between the two. A study conducted in Taiwan suggests that men with ED are at a higher risk of prostate cancer and other prostate problems. Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of death among men. Hence, it is important to undergo regular check-ups for prostate problems if you are facing erectile dysfunction.
Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP