Erectile Dysfunction as an Early Warning of Heart Disease

Erectile dysfunction may be a symptom of an underlying disorder such as high blood pressure, diabetes or even heart disease.

Symptoms of heart disease include chest pain, heart palpitations (irregular/pronounced heart beat) and unusual breathlessness. However, many people do not experience any symptoms before they are diagnosed. If you experience any of these symptoms or erectile dysfunction you should speak to a doctor. A doctor can examine you and conduct any necessary tests to see if there is an underlying medical condition, causing your erectile dysfunction. In addition, they may be able to prescribe you some medications to treat your symptoms or any underlying disease.

Heart disease leads to a dysfunction of the blood vessel lining and the muscle that surrounds the blood vessels. This causes impaired blood flow, leading to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a thickening of the blood vessel walls and a narrowing of the blood vessels. During an erection, the blood vessels around the penis dilate, allowing the penis to fill with blood. If the blood vessels that supply the penis are damaged, they may be unable to properly dilate, leading to inadequate blood flow to the penis and erectile dysfunction.

To avoid heart disease, the NHS recommend eating a healthy balanced diet, getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, giving up smoking, reducing alcohol intake and keeping your blood pressure under control. There are medications available to help you stop smoking, lose weight and manage your blood pressure, if you need a little extra help.

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