Whether you listen to the radio, watch television, read newspapers or magazines, or spend any time surfing the Internet, chances are you’ll be bombarded with ads that claim their product or service can treat erectile dysfunction (ED). The reason these ads are so abundant is because so many men suffer from the condition.
In fact, about 30 million men in the United States have ED, and it’s not just older men. Remarkably, about half of all men in the United States over age 40 experience some degree of ED.
Do you know what other medical condition affects many Americans? Being overweight and obese. In this blog, the providers at Generations Family Practice in Cary and Raleigh, North Carolina, explain the link between weight and erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction explained
Let’s begin this sensitive topic by first explaining the mechanics of a healthy erection.
When the male body is functioning in tip-top shape, a series of actions happen naturally. First, sexual arousal triggers nerves to release chemicals that make blood flow into the penis. Blood flow is targeted to two erection chambers, which are made of porous muscle tissue.
As the erection transpires, the porous tissues loosen up and cause blood to be trapped in the chambers, causing increased blood pressure in the chambers, which stiffens the penis and creates an erection. When a man suffers from erectile dysfunction, underlying factors derail the erection process and prevent him from either getting or sustaining an erection that's firm enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse.
Typically, the cause of erectile dysfunction isn’t just one single issue. Instead, it’s usually a combination of problems that affect blood flow or cause damage to nerves or blood vessels. Other factors that can affect a man’s ability to get or sustain an erection can include side effects from prescription medications and emotional factors, such as anxiety and depression.
Weight, testosterone levels, and ED
One way weight can impact ED is by affecting testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone that helps fuel both sex drive and performance in men.
Unfortunately, if a person’s weight increases beyond healthy levels, their testosterone levels can decrease. In fact, an increase of 4 inches in waist size is connected to a 75% chance of having low testosterone levels.
Weight, vascular problems, and ED
Another way weight can lead to ED is that being overweight or obese can cause medical conditions that can damage blood vessels or nerves involved in blood flow. For many men, erectile dysfunction can be an early sign of a serious problem, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, vascular disorders, or metabolic conditions, such as diabetes.
In fact, about 80% of all cases of erectile dysfunction are due to underlying physical problems, with high blood pressure being a main cause. And, as noted earlier, many of these conditions are often linked to being overweight or obese.
ED is highly treatable
The good news is ED is highly treatable, and it’s one of the many men’s health issues we address here at Generations Family Practice. Our compassionate and experienced providers are committed to building ongoing, trusting partnerships with our patients.
We work with our patients to address the underlying causes. For example, if being overweight is a factor, we can design a medically supervised weight loss plan to help you lose the weight and keep it off.
Our weight loss programs work because they take into account factors that are specific to each patient, such as their metabolism, lifestyle, overall health, and mental health.
If you’re suffering from erectile dysfunction or are noticing changes in your ability to sustain an erection, we can help you get well. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Generations Family Practice today.