Erectile Dysfunction: A precursor to cardiovascular disease?
Since the first case of coronavirus, till today, if one thing we were able to internalise is, that a healthy body is a non-negotiable case in life. COVID-19 pandemic did not only disrupt the healthcare infrastructure but has also revived the meaning of personal health. As the incidence of infection and its recovery largely remained onto individual's own immunity and the absence of other morbidities, the importance of immunity and a healthy lifestyle has been the main highlight in the last eight months. Every year millions of people fall prey to lifestyle related conditions like metabolic diseases, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, etc. These risk factors not only lead to cardiovascular diseases but also leads to vascular diseases like Erectile Dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction: A sign of heart disease?
The science behind an erection involves a crucial role of blood flow. In a sexually aroused state, brain and local nerves sends impulses to the muscles of the corpora cavernosa (two chambers inside the penis) to relax. This permits the blood to flow in and fill the gaps, while creating the pressure in the corpora cavernosa, for the penis to expand. For people who face difficulty in achieving an erection are commonly suffering from Atherosclerosis, a condition where build-up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in the artery walls (plaque) restricts the blood flow. Therefore, opting a healthy lifestyle that includes right diet, weight loss exercises, reduced consumption of alcohol and smoking is usually an immediate suggestion for the ED patients. Also, the experts first check the condition of the heart before taking ahead the treatment for ED. The common cause Endothelial dysfunction, a condition in which the blood vessels cannot dilate properly is said to be the first stage of Coronary Heart Disease (narrowing of coronary arteries, limiting the blood flow to the heart). The penile artery is actually 3 to 4 times narrower than the coronary artery any disease that obstructs the arteries will obstruct the smaller penile artery first. As a result, erectile dysfunction could be a precursor to the cardiovascular disease. Interestingly, a study, involving 700 cardiac patients found that the rate of ED out of the patients suffering with CAD was as high as 42–57%. In addition, experts believe that CAD shows up, almost after 38.8 months of 1 occurrence in ED. As ED and CAD overlap in terms of incidence and its risk factors, they share the same route of pathological progression within the body.
Delving Deeper into Erectile Dysfunction
The incidence of Erectile Dysfunction in India is as high as 30%, still it is been looked down as a disease of shame. It has been an emotional and sensitive discussion, due to which most patients do not come out in open to seek help. This attitude not only affects the sexual comfort with the partner but also covers the potential morbidity in the person. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to treat ED as just another disease and seek an early intervention to preserve the heart/vascular health especially in people over 40 years of age. Therefore, the management of ED brings forth a plethora of treatment options. The first line of treatment goes with the suggested lifestyle changes like 30 minutes brisk walk or exercise daily and healthy eating along with the medication. However, in some cases, the patients do not feel any support with these methods, so doctors suggest them to go for a more permanent solution called penile implants. The entire surgical procedure involves implanting the device with inflatable cylinders allowing the person to control the timing of an erection. Once the penile implant is successfully done, you can indulge in intercourse after six weeks. These are safe, highly efficient and offer an enriching patient-partner satisfaction rate. These implants come with bendable cylinders which are placed completely inside the body and are easy to position. Whenever the person wants to achieve an erection can push the device upwards, as it is placed in the shaft of the penis. Once the act is done, they can put it back in the normal position. Although, not all patients would need an implant. Still it is recommended to get yourself checked as a proactive approach, based on the occurrence of the symptoms. Since the detection of ED does not only hold importance for a good sexual life, but also aids in the alarming for the CVDs.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the above article are solely those of the author/agency in his/her private capacity and DO NOT represent the views of Medical Dialogues.
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