A man sitting on his bed frowning

Who is at risk the most?

Erectile dysfunction is commonly associated with increasing age. Contrary to the popular belief that aging is synonymous with erectile dysfunction, impotence in men is not always age-related. While the fact remains that age often does play a role in erectile dysfunction, you do not have to live in fear that once you step over the threshold into middle age you are destined to develop this debilitating condition.

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to have or sustain a sufficient erection long enough to have sexual intercourse. Since male arousal is a consequence of a multitude of systems (especially hormonal, circulatory, and nervous systems) working together, a problem with any one of these systems can interfere with the ability to perform sexually.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, smoking, alcoholism, recreational drug use, obesity and anxiety disorders are some of the common causes of erectile dysfunction in men. Advancing age is another factor that plays a major role in erectile dysfunction, however.

Erectile dysfunction and advancing age

As men age, there is a decline in the level of the sex hormone known as testosterone. Declining testosterone levels result in decreases in sex drive, which, in turn, leads to an inability to have or maintain erections. This is why the possibility of having ED increases with age.

Since old age is also associated with other comorbid conditions, like heart disease, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, the risk of erectile dysfunction increases significantly in older people as well. A direct relationship has been established between comorbidities and the chances of having ED in men.

Aging is (not) always the cause of ED

The Massachusetts Male Aging Study is an important study that was carried out to look for the incidence of ED in men of all age groups. Even though the study showed that the risk of ED increased with every decade of life, the chances of erectile dysfunction were higher for men with lower educational status, diabetes, heart problems and high blood pressure.

Another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2003 probed for causes of ED in 31,742 men aged 53 to 90 years. The main purpose of the study was to establish the relationship between age and the factors that lead to ED in men older than 50. The study showed that men who had no chronic medical conditions, and lead a healthy lifestyle, had less risk of developing ED.

The study was a big step forward towards understanding that age may not be the most important factor for ED risk in men. Since smoking and illicit drug use is a problem common in males less than 40 years of age, ED is likely to begin even before the age of 40. A young man living an unhealthy life may be as likely to suffer from ED as an older man with high blood pressure who is living on a variety of medications.

Average age for ED diagnosis

The average age for the diagnosis of ED in men appears to be about 40 years old. Studies show that 40% to 70% of men over the age of 50 suffer from severe ED symptoms. The incidence of ED increases from 2% at the age of 40 to 49% by the age of 70. Only 5% to 10% of men below the age of 40 are likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Am I likely to have ED?

The answer mostly depends on your general health. Even if you are a young individual in your 20s or 30s, frequent, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking, increases your risk of developing ED dramatically.

Again, if you have crossed the 40s mark, are a social drinker only and are suffering from manageable medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, the possibility of developing ED is still there and is even more likely to affect you than a person 10 years younger with a similar life style.

If you are in your 50s, your chances of having moderate to severe comorbid conditions are increased even more, increasing the likelihood of developing erectile dysfunction, owed partly to the decrease in the levels of male hormone in your body.

Are you 70 already? Your risk of having ED is more than ever as old age and medical conditions go hand in hand. A sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle and unchecked medical conditions can take a heavy toll on your sexual health.

How can I age healthily?

It is possible to age while keeping erectile dysfunction at bay at the same time. The not-so-secret secret to living a hale and hearty old life is to practice a healthy lifestyle. Here are some simple tips that can help preserve your sexual health as you age.

  • Exercise regularly
  • Stay active
  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Stay away from oily food and junk food
  • Avoid sweets
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables

A healthy lifestyle can radically lower the burden of erectile dysfunction on the quality of life in the older male population.

The bottom line

Adopt healthy lifestyle measures so that you can ward off the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Knock out erectile dysfunction before it knocks you down. Take control of your life and your lifestyle so that you can age happily and healthily. Happy aging!

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Note : The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and must not be considered as medical advice. YouDrugstore does not endorse of affiliates with the opinions expressed by this or any other contributing author.