Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is a common problem that affects about 30 million American men. It’s a significant quality-of-life issue, but it can also be a sign of heart disease or other conditions, like high blood pressure or diabetes.
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Atherosclerosis (pronounced “ah-THER-ose-sklee-luh”) is a disease that affects the arteries, the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. The arteries can become clogged with plaque, which is made up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances.
Atherosclerosis can affect any artery in your body, but it is most common in the arteries that lead to the heart. It can also occur in the arteries that supply blood to your kidneys, arms, and legs.
The condition develops gradually over time and is largely preventable with healthy lifestyle choices like eating well, exercising, and not smoking. However, if you have it, your healthcare provider may recommend medications and other treatments to slow the progression of the disease and reduce your symptoms.
In many people, atherosclerosis doesn’t cause any symptoms until it significantly narrows or blocks an artery. But some people experience early warning signs, including chest pain (angina) and numbness in their legs or arms.
Symptoms can vary, but they often begin days or weeks before a heart attack or stroke. Women and people designated female at birth (DFAB) have a higher risk for these symptoms, so it’s important to talk with your doctor if you have these or any other symptoms of heart disease.
Your doctor will do a physical exam and listen with a stethoscope to check for a weak pulse or an abnormal sound called bruit in your arteries. He or she will also test your blood pressure and perform other tests.
If you have atherosclerosis, you might need to take blood thinners or other medicines to help keep your arteries from getting clogged with plaque. These medicines can also help treat other conditions that may be related to atherosclerosis, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Arteriosclerosis is a gradual process that can cause damage to the arteries that supply blood to your heart and other organs in your body. It can also make the arteries stiff and hard, making it difficult for your heart and other organs to receive enough blood. This can lead to serious problems, such as heart disease, circulation issues in the arms and legs, aneurysms that can cause life-threatening internal bleeding, and chronic kidney failure.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a condition that causes the force of your blood to push against the walls of the arteries in your body. It can damage the arteries and increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
You can get diagnosed with high blood pressure by visiting your doctor and getting your pressure measured. Your healthcare provider will use a cuff that wraps around your upper arm. The cuff squeezes a large artery and stops the flow of blood for a moment. Then, the air is slowly let out of the cuff, which lets the blood flow again.
The cuff is also used to measure your pulse. Your blood pressure reading is based on your pulse rate and the systolic and diastolic pressures of your blood. If your blood pressure reading is too high, you may need treatment with medications to lower it and reduce your risk of health problems.
Medications for high blood pressure include a variety of drugs that decrease the amount of salt in your diet and relax your arteries to reduce your blood pressure. These medications may take a few days to start working, but they can have long-lasting benefits. You should discuss these medications with your doctor, who can help you decide which ones are best for you and your health.
People who have high blood pressure are at increased risk for developing diabetes and other serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. These problems can lead to premature death.
Many of these complications can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle changes, such as a low-sodium diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can also reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
In addition, you can avoid many health problems by quitting smoking and drinking too much alcohol. You can also try to limit your sodium intake by avoiding canned soups, processed foods, and salty snacks.
In a small number of people, high blood pressure may be caused by a different problem, such as an abnormal production of hormones from the adrenal glands. If this is the case, you should be able to improve your blood pressure by seeing your doctor and following his treatment plan.
High cholesterol levels can be a problem, but they don’t usually cause symptoms until you have serious heart disease or a stroke. If you have high cholesterol, you may need to make some changes in your diet and lifestyle.
Cholesterol is a waxy fat that your liver produces naturally. It’s important for making cell membranes and hormones, and it helps your body absorb vitamin D. Your body needs some of the cholesterol, but too much is bad for your health.
Your doctor can measure your blood’s cholesterol level by testing a sample of your blood, called a lipid panel. This test can tell you what your LDL (low-density lipoprotein), HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and triglyceride levels are.
Ideally, your HDL should be around 60 mg/dL and your LDL should be less than 100 mg/dL. If your LDL is 240 mg/dL or higher, you have a risk of heart disease.
The good news is that you can reduce your overall cholesterol level with a healthy diet, regular exercise and medication. And you can prevent high cholesterol from developing in the first place.
If you have high cholesterol, it can be caused by a number of different factors. The main ones are eating fatty food, not exercising enough and being overweight or obese. It can also run in families.
People with inherited high cholesterol, known as familial hypercholesterolemia, tend to develop it at a young age. In addition, high cholesterol can be a factor in certain diseases and conditions, such as type 2 diabetes.
A person’s cholesterol level can also be affected by age, race and other risk factors. Those who have higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels are more likely to develop heart problems, according to the American College of Cardiologists.
In the United States, it is estimated that about 93 million adults have high cholesterol and need treatment. Over half of these people are using drugs to control their cholesterol.
In the case of erectile dysfunction (ED), it is possible that men who have a high cholesterol level have issues with their penis blood flow or artery function. This could explain why men with ED have a greater risk of heart disease than other men.
Smoking is the act of inhaling tobacco smoke, often in a cigarette. However, smoking also refers to the use of many other forms of tobacco, including cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco.
Smokers are more likely to develop heart disease and lung disease, and they have a higher risk of dying from these diseases. Additionally, they are at greater risk of developing certain cancers than non-smokers.
When people smoke, they are inhaling toxic substances that can damage their lungs and blood vessels. They are also inhaling nicotine, which is an addictive substance that can cause a person to become dependent on it.
The nicotine that is absorbed by the lungs quickly diffuses into the bloodstream, where it binds to receptor proteins on nerve cells in the brain and peripheral nervous system. The nerve cells then transmit a nerve impulse to other parts of the body.
These nicotine signals trigger the release of other chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin, which are known to promote feelings of pleasure and relaxation. These chemicals also trigger the reward centers in the brain.
In addition to these effects, smokers are at an increased risk of developing various inflammatory conditions, including chronic inflammatory bowel disease (CID), which can lead to intestinal bowel cancer and other health problems. Inflammatory processes also increase the likelihood that a person will experience a stroke, as well as heart failure and other cardiovascular problems.
Because smoking is so addictive, it can be hard to stop. But it is possible to quit. Several methods can help, and smoking cessation is the best way to reduce your risk of developing these conditions.
Aside from its negative effect on the cardiovascular system, smoking can also lead to an increased risk of impotence. Men who smoke are more likely to have difficulty getting and maintaining an erection, which can be painful or frustrating.
Another reason why smoking causes impotence is that it can affect the flow of blood to and from the penis. This may happen because of vascular disease, or it could be due to nerve damage.