Hypertension, Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction

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Ensure it doesn’t happen to you…

The most common cause for erectile dysfunction (ED) is impaired blood flow into the penis, which is a common result of arteriosclerosis and diabetes. In fact, in about forty percent of all people over the age of 50, erectile dysfunction is caused directly by arteriosclerosis. About 50% of all people suffering from diabetes (insulin dependent) suffer from some form of erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for mutually satisfying intercourse. Erectile dysfunction impacts more than a man’s sexual activity. The emotions that coincide with this condition often have a significant effect on a man’s self-esteem, as well as on his relationship with his partner. Although the incidence of ED increases with age, it is not an inevitable result of ageing. For the elderly and for others, ED may occur as a consequence of specific illnesses or of medical treatment for certain illnesses.

The most frequent physical causes of ED are vascular diseases including arteriosclerosis, hypertension, hypercholestremia and other conditions that interfere with the blood flow to the penis. Because adequate arterial supply is critical for erection, any disorder that impairs blood flow may be implicated in the etiology of erectile failure. Some diseases associated with ED can affect both the vascular and the nervous systems. Diabetes is an example.

Hypertension in patients with diabetes frequently manifests certain unique and challenging properties. For example, persons with type 2 diabetes often lose their normal circadian rhythm of blood pressure and heart rate. Loss of normal nocturnal drops in blood pressure and heart rate may reflect both autonomic dysfunction and/or decreased sensitivity of renal-neural sensing of volume-pressure relationships. Disproportionate elevations of nocturnal blood pressure, especially systolic blood pressure, increase the 24-hour integrated cardiovascular and renal load, are more clearly associated with albuminuria and left ventricular hypertrophy, and thus greatly increase CVD risk as well as progression of renal disease in these patients.

Diabetes results in poor circulation and/or peripheral neuropathy. When the nerves are involved sexual stimuli are not transmitted appropriately to or from the brain and ED develops.

Research has resulted in significant advances in both the diagnosis and treatment of erectile dysfunction. Physicians now understand that approximately eighty-five percent of erectile dysfunction is attributable to physical conditions while only fifteen percent is due to psychological conditions.

Prescription medications often cause erectile dysfunction as a side effect. Many medications fall into this category including antidepressants, antipsychotics, treatments for cancer of the prostate, chemotherapy and some antihypertensives notably beta-blockers, diuretics and ace Inhibitors/ calcium channel blockers, However, as many cases of ED are caused by personal reactions to specific medications, a change of prescription to another class of medication is often all that is needed to correct the condition.

Correct What Can Be Corrected

Keeping diseases such as diabetes and hypertension under control will go far in preventing sexual dysfunction.

About one person out of three has high blood pressure (hypertension), which requires regular monitoring either by medical personnel in the office or at home by the patient or a family member. Home blood pressure monitoring is recommended both for the initial diagnosis of hypertension as well as for the evaluation of the response to treatment. Home monitoring also has potential value in assessing resistant hypertension, hypotensive symptoms associated with medication, and autonomic neuropathy. It also empowers the patient to take responsibility for his or her health.

Further, the beneficial effects of improved blood pressure control extend to cardiovascular and stroke events, which occur with much greater frequency (and with greater morbidity and mortality) than microvascular complications in elderly diabetic patients. Aggressive control of blood pressure should be a high priority in the management of hypertensive diabetic patients. It should also be a high priority in the treatment of people suffering from erectile dysfunction.

The first consideration in a man with diabetes and ED is optimal control of blood glucose with avoidance of hypoglycaemia. This measure will often also improve neuropathy. Diagnosis and treatment of concurrent hypertension, which is common in men with diabetes, are additionally important. At times, changing medications, especially cardiovascular drugs, may reverse erectile dysfunction.

Many people have high blood pressure or glucose for years without knowing it. Hypertension and diabetes are the leading cause for penile dysfunction. The only way to tell if you have high blood pressure or high glucose levels is to perform a quick test. These tests can now be performed in the comfort of your own home using a digital blood pressure monitor or glucometer. These glucometers and blood pressure monitors are available at most pharmacies.

Another alternative interesting test is to take an ABI (Ankle Brachial Index) measurement. Ankle brachial index offers a simple and effective method of objectively documenting the functional state of the circulation in the lower limbs and thus for the diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease. You can do this test with your doctor using a Doppler (which is quite a complicated test) or using a Screening CardioVascular Lab (click here to find out more).

Anyway, that’s all I have to say on this subject, hope it helped.

Have a great day

Uwe DIEGEL

www.medactiv.fr
www.healthworksglobal.net

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