Symptoms of erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a sign of underlying cardiovascular disease (CVD) or other health conditions. The link between ED and heart health has been extensively studied, and there is a strong association between the two.
An erection requires blood to be pushed into the penis and held there, keeping the penis hard.
This can be hindered by atherosclerosis, a condition in which the blood vessels become narrowed and hardened due to the buildup of plaque. Atherosclerosis can also affect the blood vessels in the heart and other parts of the body, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
In addition to atherosclerosis, other risk factors for CVD such as hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes are also associated with ED. These conditions can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves that are involved in the process of achieving an erection.
It’s important to note that ED does not cause heart disease, but it can be a warning sign of underlying heart problems. Men with ED should be evaluated for other risk factors for CVD, and they may need to undergo further testing, such as a stress test or angiogram, to assess their heart health. Treating underlying cardiovascular risk factors may help to improve both ED and heart health.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) and heart health are connected in several ways.
Mutual risk factors
ED and heart disease share many of the same risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and physical inactivity. These risk factors can damage the blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the penis and to the heart, leading to both ED and heart disease.
Men with cardiovascular disease are more likely to experience ED, as the disease can cause narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood to the penis. This can result in reduced blood flow and difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.
Some medications used to treat heart disease, such as beta-blockers, can cause ED as a side effect by interfering with blood flow to the penis.
ED can sometimes be an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease. Men who experience ED are more likely to have heart disease than those without ED, so it’s important for men with ED to get their heart health checked by a doctor.
ED and heart health are closely related and taking care of your heart health can help reduce the risk of ED. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol, can help improve both ED and heart health. If you’re experiencing symptoms of ED, it’s important to see a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Your doctor will also be able to offer advice if any medications you are taking are causing ED.
As long as you are tackling the heart disease through lifestyle changes or medication (if necessary) then shockwave therapy may be of added benefit. Shockwave treatments involve high-frequency acoustic pulses being sent into the penis which can break down the fatty plaques found in atherosclerosis, as well as encourage the repair and growth of blood vessels. This can help people who suffer from heart disease push more blood into their penis, increasing the likelihood of successfully achieving and maintaining an erection. Find out more in the video below.