Not just about sex

Erectile Dysfunction Patients more likely to predate heart attack by 5 years


Shying away from getting medical help for erectile dysfunction might expose you to the risk of heart attacks. So if you have a condition, you may likely develop a cardiac risk five years down the line. Dr Sudhakar Krishnamurti, in his book ‘Sex is not a Four-Letter Word’, famously states that “India is
the impotence capital of the world.” More than 50 per cent of the males over the age of 40 either have erectile dysfunction or problems related to premature ejaculation. Moreover, the numbers of patients with erectile dysfunction are still on the rise, even though more than half of the patients do not seek professional help due to embarrassment. Yet seeking medical help can not only boost your confidence, self-esteem and sexual life but also improve your heart’s health.
What is Erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is known as the inability to get and keep an erection during sexual intercourse. It can also be a sign of an underlying physical or psychological condition. According to Dr N.N. Khanna, cardiologist and vascular interventionist at Apollo, Delhi, “In Erectile Dysfunction, the blood supply to the penile artery is not enough and that’s the reason why erections cannot be sustained for sexual activities. This means obstructions in flow patterns and hyper anxieties, both precursors of heart disease.”
The earliest and the most common symptoms for erectile dysfunction are,
 Inability to get and keep an erection
 Premature ejaculation
The connection between ED and Heart disease
High numbers of patients with Erectile Dysfunction face higher stress levels and low self-esteem issues due to their condition but according to Dr Khanna, they are also a warning sign. “The cause for these blockages in the penile artery is the same as the cause for the blockage in coronary artery disease. If you smoke, have diabetes, hypertension, high lipids and if you are not exercising, you are likely to develop this condition.” So it is extremely important to modify an unhealthy lifestyle not only help prevent heart diseases but also to prevent impotence. Due to these close correlations, Dr Khanna feels that erectile dysfunction predates heart attacks and strokes by five years.”
How can Erectile dysfunction be prevented?
 Quit smoking
 Avoid saturated fats and sodium
 Avoid/reduce alcohol consumption
 Exercise- regular exercise will help maintain a healthy weight which will further prevent diabetes and high blood pressure
 Adopt better sleeping habits (at least 7-8 hours per day)
Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction
Dr N.N. Khanna says, “Till now there were not many treatments available except giving drugs like Viagra or vasodilators which can increase the blood flow by dilating the penile arteries. This benefitted many patients but there are also many patients who do not benefit from such drugs as they have fixed blockages.” So vasodilators like Viagra can be harmful in
cases where the patient with erectile dysfunction may simultaneously have some heart disease. However, there are still solutions available for patients who do not respond to vasodilation drugs.  “Now there is a technology where we have the capabilities of actually going and threading the wire across these blockages in the pelvis, dilating these blocks and then putting in drug coated stent in the arteries which can keep the channels open,” adds Dr Khanna. Patients have reported normal sex life after this procedure.
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