High cholesterol: Erectile dysfunction could be a symptom of the dangerous condition

Dr Chris reveals an annual jab could reduce cholesterol

High cholesterol is far more common than many think and could be affecting a man’s sexual performance. Sexual activity is an important part of quality of life of men, but erectile dysfunction affects other dimensions of the individual including depression, sexual performance, and self-worth. Approximately 40 percent of men aged 40 are affected by erectile dysfunction. Could this problem be due to having high cholesterol?

A high level of cholesterol in the blood doesn’t have obvious symptoms, but it can increase your risk for conditions that do have symptoms, including angina, high blood pressure, stroke, and other circulatory ailments, said WebMD.

The health site added: “If you develop symptoms of heart disease, stroke, or atherosclerosis in other blood vessels, such as left-sided chest pain, pressure, or fullness; dizziness; unsteady gait; slurred speech; or pain in the lower legs it could be a warning.

“Any of these conditions may be associated with high cholesterol, and each requires immediate medical intervention.

“In men, impotence may be caused by arteries affected by excessive blood cholesterol.”

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The effects of high cholesterol in men can have a negative impact on a man’s sexual life, said Boston Medical Group.

The health site continued: “Why does high cholesterol lead to erectile dysfunction?

“High cholesterol and erectile dysfunction are seemingly unrelated conditions that actually go hand in hand.

“How do erections work? After sexual stimulation in men either by touch or through the mind, the body releases chemicals that cause the penile arteries (corpora cavernosa) to relax.

“The arteries dilate causing the corpora cavernosa to fill with blood.

“As a result, the penis becomes stiffer and elongated. Erections subside after stimulation ceases or after an orgasm.”

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The most common cause of erectile dysfunction is atherosclerosis, which is a narrowing of the blood vessels.

Many things can lead to atherosclerosis, including high cholesterol.

This is because high levels of cholesterol in the blood can cause a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries which in turn can narrow these blood vessels.

Studies have also found a link between erectile dysfunction and high cholesterol, which is otherwise known as hypercholesterolemia.

Statins are drugs used to lower cholesterol levels, said Healthline.

The site continued: “In a 2071 study on rats, researchers noted improved erectile function following the treatment of high cholesterol with atorvastatin (Lipitor).

“Lipid levels remained unchanged.

“The researchers concluded that better erectile function was not the result of a decrease in cholesterol levels, but rather an improvement in the endothelium.

“The endothelium is an interior surface in the blood vessels.”

In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, statins and erectile dysfunction were analysed. 

“The coexistence of erectile dysfunction with cardiovascular disease and especially coronary heart disease stemming from the commonality of risk factors mentioned above has resulted in increasing use of statins in patients with erectile dysfunction,” noted the study.

It continued: “Also, patients without erectile dysfunction who qualify for statin therapy need to be reassured regarding the relationship of statin therapy with erectile dysfunction.

“Lifestyle modification is important for both cardiovascular health and improvement of erectile function.

“In summary, data from currently available, randomized trials indicate a small improvement in erectile function with statins.

“This implies that further studies on erectile function with statins are needed.”

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