We understand if you think there’s no good news about your struggles with erectile dysfunction (ED), a condition that affects up to 30 million men in the United States.
But, if you think about it from another perspective, one that’s providing a warning about a potentially bigger health issue, you might reconsider. Especially if we’re referring to heart health issues.
As an expert in erectile dysfunction, Dr. Robert J. Cornell and our team of men’s health experts are well-versed on the many different drivers of this common condition, especially the cardiovascular one, and we want to share some more information about this connection here.
All that goes into an erection
It can all happen in the blink of an eye — you see, touch, or hear something that triggers arousal, and an erection happens almost instantaneously. Well, that’s how it used to happen, in any case.
Despite how fast an erection can happen, it’s a surprisingly complex process that involves a number of areas, including your:
- Nerve health
- Emotional and mental well-being
- Muscle health
- Cardiovascular system
This last item is the one we’re focusing on, and for good reason. When your penis becomes erect, it’s blood that’s filling your penis, engorging it and keeping it hard. In other words, good blood flow is paramount for healthy sexual function.
When the blood isn’t flowing
Of all the causes of ED, vascular issues are the most common, and we refer to the condition as vascular ED. Simply put, your penis isn’t getting enough blood to achieve and maintain an erection.
So, if your ED is caused by poor blood flow, this can be a signal of a much larger problem in your cardiovascular health, namely peripheral artery disease (PAD). With PAD, plaque has built up in your arteries (atherosclerosis) and your blood vessels have become damaged, so your circulation is compromised.
So, not only is your penis not getting enough blood when you want it, other areas of your body are experiencing the same issue. In fact, PAD is one of the most common precursors to serious heart disease, such as heart attack and stroke.
The one takeaway we want to leave you with is that your issues with ED may, in fact, be the wake-up call you need to take steps to improve your cardiovascular health (and your sexual function). It would be no exaggeration to say that heeding this warning sign might save your life.
As you might imagine, given this information, it’s terribly important to understand what’s causing your ED. To get started, please contact our office in Houston, Texas, to schedule an appointment.