Erectile dysfunction (ED) is more common than you think, affecting about 30 million men in the United States. ED is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough to have sex. This may be associated with a low sex drive as well as issues with ejaculation and orgasm. Failure to get an erection is normal in up to 20 percent of sexual encounters but you should seek medical attention if this occurs more than 50 percent of the time.
Just how common is ED? The incidence of ED increases with age at a rate of 10 percent per decade. 50 percent of men in their 50’s have mild-to-moderate dysfunction and this increases to 60 percent in the 60s. In terms of complete erectile dysfunction, 5 percent of men at 40 years and 15 percent at 70 years old are affected.
Male sexual arousal is a complex process involving your brain, emotions, hormones (such as testosterone), blood vessels and nerves. A problem with any one of these components can lead to ED.
Let’s discuss five causes of ED, you should consider:
An erection can only occur when the blood vessels in the penis enlarge and fill with blood. Smoking leads to restriction of the blood flow to the veins and arteries in your body, including the ones going to your penis. A few studies have also shown that nicotine is linked to a lower sex drive in men.
Chronic Medical Conditions
Medical conditions, particularly heart disease and diabetes, can cause ED. Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common complications of diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes has been associated with low testosterone levels as well as damage to the nerves and blood vessels that supply the penis.