13% of the population has erection problems and with increasing age, particularly after the age of 50, the problem increases to the point that one in two people suffers at 70 years of age. This disturbance, which affects three million Italians, is both the bogeyman and the taboo of many men who, however, are mistakenly convinced that it is a disease in itself. In reality, erectile dysfunction is a symptom that can result from hidden pathologies, such as incorrect lifestyle and should be considered immediately as a warning sign for cardiovascular health. We talk about this topic with Dr. Alessandro Pizzocaro, contact person for the department of andrology at the Humanitas Clinical Institute.
The loss of an erection: a taboo
Those who suffer from erectile dysfunction avoid talking about it in most cases. In the family as well as at the specialist’s, erectile dysfunction is difficult to treat precisely because the patients themselves tend to mask it with other things. However, those who end up living with the problem, actually suffer a psychological backlash most of the time and after a while, they turn to “DIY” therapy. It is no coincidence that drugs to treat male urogenital disorders are the most counterfeited and illegally marketed, in most cases through the Internet.
Risks for the heart
A study published in the journal “Circulation” confirmed that people suffering from erectile dysfunction should be considered more “at risk” and not only because of the greater probability of collecting non-memorable sexual performances. The difficulties of erection could in fact be the sign of a disease such as diabetes or heart disease. A correlation that is all the more accentuated when the patient has multiple cardio-vascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, sedentariness and obesity. Let us not forget that testosterone levels, which are important not only for sexual function but also for the general well-being of the male, can also be reduced with age.
The importance of contacting the specialist
It is important that you seek medical advice for any early symptoms of erectile dysfunction before any further illness is detected. In fact, this symptom could also be defined as the measure of metabolic syndrome. In the vast majority of cases the patient is in fact overweight or obese, has high blood pressure, high cholesterol and in many cases undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. Genetic causes aside, the main ones are usually a diet rich in simple sugars and fats associated with a sedentary lifestyle and smoking.
Lifestyle can affect the disorder
Impotence is a problem that affects more than three million Italians, but only ten percent receive treatment. Oral medications are a very common first therapy for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, but they do not work in the same way for everyone. About half of the affected men frequently stop taking it or complain that the pill does not act properly. It is very important to consult the andrologist before taking any medication in order to investigate any pathologies that may be harmful to your health and to take the appropriate remedies to eliminate the disorder and live better.