Erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence, is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. ED is a common sexual issue that increases with age, and while ED itself isn’t dangerous, it could be a warning sign of a serious health condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Knowing how common impotence can be at any age is an important step toward its prevention and treatment. Watch as Maria Evans, our nurse practitioner, discusses just how common this issue can be for men, and continue reading to learn more about ED.

What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Male sexual arousal actually involves a complex series of events in the body. The brain sends signals to nerves in the penis, causing muscles in the penis to relax. This muscle loosening allows blood from arteries to flow into open spaces in the sponge-like tissue of the penis. Increased blood pressure expands the penis, and membranes around the sponge-like tissue maintain the erection.

Anything that disrupts this complicated string of physiological changes can result in impotence — the inability to have or keep an erection. Physical causes of ED include conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, low testosterone or an enlarged prostate. Psychological causes of ED, such as stress, anxiety, guilt, depression or relationship issues could also interfere with the erection process.

How Common Is Erectile Dysfunction?
According to the Urology Care Foundation, ED affects up to 30 million American men. Maria concurs, noting, “[Erectile dysfunction] is actually more common than you think, especially in males between the ages of 40 and 49. However, after 50, the threat of erectile dysfunction grows sharply.”

How to Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
While the likelihood of ED does increase with age, there are ways to prevent it. Here are just a few changes you can make to your lifestyle to help prevent ED:

– Maintain a healthy weight
– Eat a balanced diet
– Limit intake of tobacco and alcohol
– Practice healthy responses to stress

If you’re struggling with ED and want to improve your sexual health, we’re here to help! Call us at (816) 214-5276 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation to learn more about our erectile dysfunction treatment.