Aging can bring about many small and big changes in a man’s sex life. As you grow older, your strength, stamina, and endurance may not be as good as before, and your male sexual function may also decline. As a result, problems in the bedroom may become rampant and leave you disappointed, embarrassed, or frustrated with your sexual life.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is a widespread male sexual disorder that can strike men anytime. According to statistics, it is most common in older men, and can affect about 50% of those who are in their 40s. It is characterized by:

  • Difficulties achieving an erection
  • Difficulties maintaining a firm and long-lasting erection
  • Reduced libido or sex drive

It can be caused by a variety of things, such as:

Heart problems

Having a healthy heart is important for optimal erectile function. If your heart is able to pump enough blood, sufficient amounts of blood can flow to your penis and help in getting an erection. But, if you have high blood pressure, or have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke, your heart is not strong enough to do its job and can lead to impaired penile performance.

High cholesterol

Excess cholesterol in the body can create blockages in your arteries, and make blood circulation and blood flow difficult. If blood cannot get to your penis, getting an erection and/or keeping an erection that is hard and long-lasting can be a major challenge.

Obesity

obese man trouble with erection

Being obese means having too much body fat. It not only can lower your self-esteem and increase your risk of high blood pressure and heart diseases, but it also can weaken your erectile abilities. In addition, it reduces your strength, flexibility, stamina, and endurance, which can make sexual intercourse exhausting and difficult.

Substance abuse

There are elements found in cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs that can negatively impact your sexual function, and put you at great risk of erectile dysfunction. If you smoke, drink, or use drugs too much, you can lose your sexual prowess, and also cause damage to your brain, heart, and other vital organs.

Certain medical treatments

Some treatment methods for diseases like prostate cancer and testicular cancer can affect your erections. If you undergo radiation therapy, for example, the radiation may damage some nerves in your pelvic region, obstruct blood flow to your penis, or impede your body’s testosterone production.

Stress

Every time you are stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol as a response. When this happens, your body’s testosterone levels drop. And, if your testosterone levels are low, your sex drive, erections, and other sexual functions also decline, increasing your odds of developing erectile dysfunction.

What Factors Can Increase Your Risk of Erectile Dysfunction?

There are several factors that can make you more likely to develop erectile dysfunction than other men. The most common ones are:

Having diabetes, high blood pressure, or some other heart problems

A heart that is in tip-top shape is essential in keeping blood flowing to your penis for erections.

smoking causes erectile dysfunction

Being a long-time or frequent smoker

Compounds found in tobacco can restrict blood circulation in your veins and arteries, and can lead to chronic health problems and erectile dysfunction in the long run.

Being out of shape, overweight, or obese

Packing some extra pounds and fats can bring about a long list of health problems that can affect your cardiovascular, nervous, immune, and even sexual functions.

Taking certain medications

There are antihistamines, antidepressants, and medications for pain and high blood pressure treatment that can reduce your erectile performance.

Alcohol and drug abuse

Many studies have found that men who are heavy drinks or long-term drug users have a greater risk of erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, low sperm count, and other sexual and reproductive health problems than men who live a healthy lifestyle.

What Age is Erectile Dysfunction More Likely to Strike?

Many studies have been conducted to learn more about erectile dysfunction in men.

There was one that focused on a group of elderly men between the ages of 40 and 100, and it had the following findings:

  • Starting at around age 40, the risk of erectile dysfunction significantly increased year after year.
  • Men who were in their 40s had almost a 50% chance of developing the disorder, and men who were in their 50s were found to have a 60% chance of getting it.
  • From age 59 to 69, the risk took a huge leap — from 60% to 80%, and from age 70 onwards, the risk rose to 90%.

It also found that male participants with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension showed a higher risk of erectile dysfunction than those in the same age group without these diseases.

How Do You Prevent Erectile Dysfunction?

To lower your risk of erectile dysfunction, you should strive to make healthy choices in life.

You should watch what you eat. Avoid foods that are high in unhealthy fats, carbohydrates, and sugar, as these can put you in danger of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health problems that can negatively impact your erectile function.

You should also exercise regularly to strengthen your bones and muscles, and enhance your stamina, endurance, and flexibility for many fun and pleasurable sex. By exercising, you can also improve your blood circulation and blood flow, which are key to getting hard and long-lasting erections.

Stay away from cigarettes and drugs, as these are all toxic for your body. Also, limit your alcohol intake to at most two drinks a day or 14 drinks a week to not cause all sorts of problems to your heart, kidneys, and other vital organs.

Finally, it is important that you consult a doctor. You should undergo regular medical exams to ensure that you are all good and well, and to detect any infections, diseases, and other health concerns as soon as possible, before they start doing serious damage that can lower your quality of life.

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