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High Blood Pressure and Erectile Dysfunction

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It’s medically proven that high blood pressure is one of the primary reasons behind erectile dysfunction. A case study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society states that “about 49% of men in the age group of 40 to 79 with high blood pressure had erectile dysfunction.” Several secondary factors like stress and obesity are responsible for elevating blood pressure which in turn affects sexual health to a great extent. However, the problem is not incurable and it can be treated with medicines and some changes in lifestyle.

How High Blood Pressure causes Erectile Dysfunction

Hormone Changes:

Testosterone is the main hormone responsible for sexual drive. Rise in blood pressure in the circulatory system alters the natural process of testosterone secretion by the testicles in the body. The consequence of this is- the hormone is secreted below normal levels on sexual stimulation. As a result of which men do not get proper erections.

Damage to Blood Vessels:

Under serious stress like conditions, blood flows in high pressure inside the blood vessels. Thus, increased blood pressure might tear the delicate blood vessels of the penis and then they undergo self repair. During this self-repair process, the veins and the arteries tend to thicken which further restricts adequate supply of blood to the spongy tissues of the penis responsible for erection. So this is how erectile dysfunction is caused due to increased levels of blood pressure.

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Effect of Drugs:

Your body is dependent on pills to stabilize the blood pressure. There are two groups of medicines responsible for erectile dysfunction, viz. Beta blockers and Diuretics. Beta blockers affect the nervous impulse of the brain targeted for erection. They restrict the arteries of the penis to expand, as a result of which blood flow gets blocked. Similarly, diuretics or water pills also decrease rush of blood inside the penis needed for an erection. They also make the body deficient of zinc which aids in synthesis of testosterone.

Other Reasons:

Studies have also shown that prolonged rise in a blood pressure decreases the body’s ability to produce nitric oxide which governs regulation of blood vessels and blood flow. Presence of inadequate nitric oxide leads to erectile dysfunction. Furthermore, maintaining an erection is also difficult due to extreme rise in blood flow pressure which reduces the closing ability of the venous valves and holding capacity of blood for a long time. When blood leaks from the veins, the erection is lost.

How to Overcome the Challenge

While high blood pressure affects the individual’s health at the large, erectile dysfunction strongly affects sexual health. One should speak up to a doctor regarding his problem without any kind of hesitation. Lifestyle changes like incorporating yoga, meditation, exercise, and quitting smoking and alcohol can control blood pressure to a large extent which gradually improves sexual health. One should also avoid eating cholesterol and sodium rich foods and control weight gain by all means. However, the ultimate treatment is suggested by your doctor and therefore, it’s necessary to follow his advice to get back to a healthy sex life.

All in all, this problem can be completely eliminated. One needs patience and support to deal with sexual problems and by making healthy choices one can enjoy life and make relationships stronger.

Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 02, 2015