Erectile dysfunction (ED) has been identified as the most common sexual problem that affects men older than 40 years of age.
ED is the inability to achieve and maintain penile erection enough for sexual satisfaction. It is the most common chronic abnormality affecting men and its prevalence increases with age. The sexual condition is also the most frequently detected problems in the elder males. According to a study, it has been reported that erection problem mostly affects men older than 40 years of age. The older the men get, the more they become affected by ED. Men start dealing with erection issues and severe orgasmic impairment throughout their aging process.
Causes of erectile dysfunction
There are so many erectile dysfunction causes, some of them are as follows:
- Medical conditions like clogged arteries, heart and blood vessel disease, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes
- Surgeries or injuries
- Treatments for prostate cancer
The effect of aging on sexual health
In the aging men, the vascular supply to the reproductive organ (Penis) is compromised. Many researchers also suggest that the process of aging is often related to increasing degrees of atherosclerotic vascular alterations in the arteries of the penis.
Age and changes in the morphology of reproductive organ
Penile erection function is a neurovascular phenomenon that requires an intact vascular endothelium, consequently, any difficulty that interferes with the arterial vasculature may have a direct impact on the sexual performance of men. The vascular endothelium is an active and dynamic tissue that plays a key role in regulatory functions such as local homeostasis, perfusion maintenance inflammatory responses, vascular tone regulation, and coagulation. Studies suggest that normal aging process and its associated risk factors could cause damage to endothelial tissues that ultimately results in endothelial dysfunction.
All epidemiologic studies establish an increasing age-associated prevalence and severity of erection problem. Many types of research state that the prevalence of ED is higher in the older age groups, peaking in males 70 years and older. Sexual problems develop frequently in older adults and are infrequently discussed with the urologists, which is not good for the overall health of older adults. Discussing erectile dysfunction treatments remains embarrassing and difficult for many primary health care specialists, as well as patients, find difficulty in raising sexual health issues with their health care professionals or urologists.
However, after 60 years of age, the rate of ED raises, independently of comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and coronary artery diseases (CAD). Additionally, older men are often affected by several health issues and take so many prescription or nonprescription medications that are worsening sexual health. In order to preserve good sexuality, it is also important for elderly people to try things to improve their quality of life.
The prevalence of ED is higher in older men because erectile dysfunction symptoms are related to the same underlying risk factors as vascular disorders and include hyperlipidemia, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking. All these health conditions are common in aging men.
There is some evidence that shows that erection problem can not only be treated by some erection dysfunction drugs such as phosphodiesterase-inhibitors (PDE5-1), but also by focussing on the risk factors directly. These risk factors include improving obesity through weight loss, correction of hyperlipidemia, and cessation of smoking. Once the risk factors improved, there is an increase in endothelial health. The relationship between ED and endothelial dysfunction has been established. Minor risk factors such as oxidative stress, hyperhomocysteinemia, hypoxia, and inflammation are also responsible for causing ED in men.
According to data, it has been concluded that ED may be an early manifestation of endothelial dysfunction in the presence or absence of cardiovascular risk factors. Thus, men suffering from erectile dysfunction are considered to be at high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, and ED may be considered as a sentinel symptom in patients with cardiovascular events.