Erectile Dysfunction: Hard Facts About the Soft Truth

John Gray

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not a natural part of aging. Men can have loving, fulfilling, and active sex lives well into old age.

ED is more common than people realize. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 5 percent of men age 40 and between 15 percent and 25 percent of men age 65 experience ED on a long-term basis. Overall, an estimated 30 million Americans struggle with ED. The risk of erectile dysfunction increases with age but is not caused by age. About 40 percent of 40-year-olds struggle with ED and 70 percent of 70-year-olds have the same problem.

More and more researchers are recognizing the link between sexual health and chronic diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The more advanced these diseases are, the more at risk a man is of erectile dysfunction. ED has a strong association to cardiovascular disease. Studies have found that ED may precede a patient's heart attack by five years.

Many people don’t realize that ED actually starts when a man doesn't sustain his erections for as long as he or his partner would like. The good news is that ED can be corrected, and often times, reversed. Several studies have shown that changing your diet, exercise levels or other health habits have been shown to improve the symptoms of ED in men.

1. Exercise
A study of almost 300 racially diverse men showed that physical activity was linked to improved sexual function and erectile dysfunction symptoms. More studies have revealed that men were able to improve ED symptoms after regular exercise.

2. Stress

Too much stress can slow the production of hormones, especially testosterone and impeded the blood flow to the penis. Devote 30 minutes each day to doing an activity you love. 

3. Smoking
An extensive study showed that men with ED who were able to quit smoking cigarettes were able to improve their ED symptoms after one year, compared to the men who continued their tobacco habit.

4. Diet
A study found that men who chose a more Mediterranean diet and ate more vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and olive oil improved their vascular health and reduced the prevalence of ED in men.

5. Weight
A massive study surveyed over 30,000 men between the ages of 53 and 90 years old and found that men who became obese had a 40 percent increased risk of developing ED than those who didn’t become obese.

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