Statistics prove that men typically aren’t the first to visit the doctor, especially when it comes to sexual health. However, newer research is showing that early warning signs of sexual dysfunction may be correlated with cardiovascular disease. Erectile dysfunction (the inability to get and keep an erection) affects 150 million men worldwide. About 5 percent of 40 year old men have complete ED and that number jumps to 15 percent in 70 year old men.
How Cardiovascular Disease and Erectile Dysfunction are Related
Research is showing that erectile dysfunction preceding heart problems may be due to endothelial dysfunction, which refers to damage of in the inner lining of the blood vessels and smooth muscle. This can impair blood flow to the heart and penis - it can also contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.
Why See a Physician?
Because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in men, it is important to get checked out by a physician early on to see if any risk factors are present. These include diabetes, obesity, alcohol/tobacco use, hypertension, abnormal lipids and low testosterone levels which can all increase the possibility of developing erectile dysfunction and CVD.
When to See a Physician
Changes in libido, energy and mood are also reasons why talking to a physician is important in the prevention and management of heart disease. Sexual health is often time’s good indicator of overall functionality and can help determine if underlying hormonal issues are also at play.
What to Do About It
Luckily, there are basic steps to help improve overall health and longevity in men. First, making sure you are getting an adequate amount of sleep every night and getting screen for sleep apnea if you experience snoring at nights.
Eating a whole foods diet rich in plants, healthy fats and lean protein can reduce the risk of metabolic dysfunction.
Managing daily stress is another important mechanism to prevent CVD in men, as this pertains to blood pressure levels.
Additionally, avoiding excessive exposures to plastics can help improve testosterone levels as these are a source of xenoestrogens.
If you are interested in learning more about specialty testing in men or managing hormonal and metabolic conditions, a naturopathic appointment is a good initial step!
Maral Zarandi (ND) is a licensed naturopathic physician, who earned her degree from Bastyr University. She is passionate about guiding clients through their healing journey and providing them with individualized treatment plans. Maral focuses on rebalancing the foundations of health and building meaningful connections to create a safe and effective healing environment. She primarily utilizes a functional medicine perspective to find the root cause of a condition and spends time educating clients to help them feel more confident and informed about their health.