You have probably seen those emails in your junk email about getting stronger erections. For most people, they laugh these emails off as something ridiculous. Yet, for a growing group of men, these junk emails are touching upon a very real concern.
How Common is Erectile Dysfunction?
According to recent studies, about 5 percent of men that are 40 years old have complete erectile dysfunction, and that number increases to about 15 percent of men at age 70. Mild and moderate erectile dysfunction affects approximately 10 percent of men of every age group. Older men are more likely to have health conditions that require medication, which can interfere with erectile function.
Additionally, as men age, they may need more stimulation to get an erection and more time between erections. Not only is ED a common condition, but is also a very emotional and sensitive topic to discuss. Most men suffer with the condition in private. Some avoid intimacy because of it.
A Definition of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the inability to get or to maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.
Achieving an erection is actually quite a complex process. It involves the brain, hormones, nerves, muscles and blood circulation. If something interferes with this process, the result may be erectile dysfunction. In some cases, erectile dysfunction can be the first sign of other serious underlying health conditions, such as cardiovascular problems. Very often these conditions need treatment because they are risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.
Three Parts of Male Sexual Function
When you break it down, there are three essential parts of a man’s sexual function:
Interest and desire for sexual activity (libido)
The ability to obtain and maintain an erection
Ejaculation and climax (orgasm)
When a man seeks treatment for erectile dysfunction, it is often helpful to differentiate between these different parts of sexual function. As a starting point for solving the issue, you can ask yourself the following questions:
– Do you find a lack of interest in sex or lack of desire for your partner?
– Do you have interest in sex, but cannot maintain an erection during intercourse?
– Do you find issues climaxing or achieving and orgasm?
If you can define the difference between these three components it helps to identify the problems you are experiencing.
How to Prevent or Reduce Erectile Dysfunction
There are several steps men can take to reduce their risk for erectile dysfunction, including:
- Quit smoking
- Exercise at least three times a week
- Maintaining a healthy weight and healthy diet
- Limiting or avoiding the use of alcohol
- Reducing stress
- Reducing anxiety or depression (seeking professional help if needed)
- Discontinue narcotic or pharmaceutical drugs with harmful side effects
- Have regular check-ups with a primary care physician to monitor blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.