It’s Men’s Health Month this month and we wanted to talk about men’s sexual health and how it relates to health in general. There have been medical studies that have linked higher frequency of sexual intercourse and orgasms to lower risk of heart attacks, strokes and death. As you might expect from that information, declining sexual function can be an early sign of underlying conditions that can adversely affect health.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is common, and the incidence increases as men age. Unfortunately, there is an association of ED to coronary artery disease which also increases as men age. One of the first stages of vascular disease is endothelial dysfunction. This is where the blood vessels cannot open (dilate) as well as they should. A man may notice this first in a decline in the quality of his erections. Diabetes, low testosterone, medicines used to treat a variety of conditions, etc. can also be reasons for erectile function to decline.
If you do start to experience erectile issues and you have not had a recent physical, you can schedule one with your physician to check blood pressure, sugar levels, and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Hormone levels can also be checked. Discuss the medicines you are on with your physician to see if any could be contributing. If you needed an excuse, this is a good time to take stock of your lifestyle and improve any areas contributing to poor health and aging, such as being overweight, lack of activity and exercise, stress, poor sleep, etc.
Don’t despair! Treatment for ED has come a long way recently. From recent advances in shock wave therapy, supplements to improve nitric oxide production, peptide and hormone therapy, to advanced regenerative treatments with platelet rich plasma and tissue-based stem cells, there is less reason than ever before to not stay sexually active well into your golden years!