Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects at least 18 million men in the United States. The chances of having issues getting or maintaining an erection increases with age, but impotence is not a natural part of aging. While there are many drugs on the market to help with this problem, some lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing erectile dysfunction.
Lifestyle changes to help with erectile dysfunction
While there are many drugs on the market to help with this problem, some lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing erectile dysfunction.
An Italian study from 2004 found that four out of five men with erectile dysfunction have body mass indexes greater than 25. Overweight men with BMIs of 28.7 — about 6’0″ tall and 210 pounds — have 30 percent greater risk for developing ED than normal weight men. In addition to the strain excess weight puts on the heart, it puts men at greater risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which also affect sexual function.
Men who smoke cigarettes are at greater risk of developing erectile dysfunction. A study from Tulane University found a statistical association between the number of cigarettes a man smokes and the likelihood of developing erectile dysfunction. The study said 22.7 percent of ED cases among their cohorts were attributed to cigarette smoking.
Alcohol may increase your desire to have sex but it inhibits sexual function. Sexual desire is created by the male hormone testosterone, which is produced in the testicles. Regular alcohol consumption reduces the production of testosterone. After a while, production almost completely stops, which causes ED.
Men who exercise three to five hours a week have 30 percent less risk of having erectile dysfunction, according to a study from Harvard University. Sexual function is controlled by the cardiovascular system. Often problems with circulation or heart disease first presents as ED. Exercise — like running, biking and other cardiovascular exercises — reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke, and improves sexual function.
Everyone gets stressed out sometimes. But too much stress can seriously hamper sexual function and performance. Relationship stress, in particular, can strain a mans sexual abilities. The Mayo Clinic recommends couples should develop better communication or seek counseling to help resolve issue that may be causing ED.
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