Can Erectile Dysfunction Kill You?

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition encountered by 40% of men at some time in their lives.  Often the cause is psychological and can be cured by a change of lifestyle and tal therapy.  Psychological reasons for erectile dysfunction include; stress, depression and relationship troubles.

However erectile dysfunction can be an indication of underlying health issues such as; diabetes, coronary heart disease, dementia, liver disease and prostate cancer. The condition itself won’t kill you but if the cause is due to a serious illness then you need to get it treated as soon as possible. If you do suffer from erectile dysfunction don’t ignore it as it could be detrimental to your health.

What Is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

The NHS Choices website describes ED as, the inability to get and maintain an erection’. Men can suffer low esteem, depression, loss of confidence and a negative impact on relationships as a result of erectile dysfunction.  Embarrassment can cause men to suffer in silence and avoid getting it checked out.  Treatments are much more effective these days and the condition can be cured.

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Underlying Health Conditions

Symptoms of the following health conditions sometimes include erectile dysfunction:-

Diabetes

There are two types of diabetes.  The first type is when the body’s immune system attacks and kills the cells that produce insulin.  If you have this type you will have to take regular injections of insulin to stay alive.  Diabetes type two is when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or cells do not react to it.  Often a healthy diet and losing weight can eliminate this version.  (Source: NHS Choices).  One complication of diabetes is damage to your blood vessels and nerves.  This could cause erectile dysfunction.  If you manage to control your diabetes many of these complications could correct themselves.

Coronary Artery Disease

This is the most common type of heart disease.  Arteries become blocked causing the flow of blood to the heart to decrease significantly.  This can result in chest pains (Angina). Permanent heart damage is caused when a blood vessel breaks off and stops the blood supply to the heart.  If your body cannot pump enough blood to the heart then it is going to have difficulty reaching your penis.  Erectile dysfunction may occur as a result.  If you do get chest pains and don’t feel 100% you must go and see your doctor to discount this serious condition.

Dementia

Although studies have not managed to find a direct link between erectile dysfunction and dementia there is believed to be a connection.  In 2000 a Taiwanese study carried out a random study of 1,000,000 patients and identified 4153 patients newly diagnosed with ED.  The sample was monitored for seven years and the results showed that patients with erectile dysfunction were 1.68 times more likely to develop dementia.  (Source: NCBI). Obviously, the results are from a relatively small sample and the risk is small.  The reason given for the connection is that people with dementia are likely to suffer from conditions such as; diabetes and coronary heart disease.  These conditions can cause erectile dysfunction.

Liver Disease

Patients with chronic hepatitis B have been found to be more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.  A very small study conducted on 69 patients with liver disease found that those with chronic hepatitis B were more prone to ED.  This can be attributed to general ill health and depression suffered as a result of the disease. (Source: NCBI). Liver disease doesn’t show itself until it is quite advanced so erectile dysfunction may be the very first indication that there is something wrong.

Prostate Cancer

Although prostate cancer itself isn’t a cause for erectile dysfunction treatments can be.  This is because they can damage the nerves and blood vessels.  Hormone treatment can also cause ED.  Further surgery is an option to reverse the effects but can have varying degrees of success.  If this is the reason for your erectile dysfunction you could talk to your doctor to discuss treatment.

If It Is Not Any Of These What Can Be Done?

If you haven’t got an underlying health condition then that is very good news as there are a number of options available to you.  First of all, if your erectile dysfunction is due to psychological issues you can have cognitive behaviour therapy or find a new partner that turns you on.  Treatments such as Sildenafil, Viagra, Cialis, Spedra and Levitra can help you have and maintain an erection.  It must be noted that it is important to follow the guidelines and not exceed the stated dose.  Otherwise, you may make yourself seriously ill.

Although erectile dysfunction itself can’t kill you some of the causes may so go and visit your doctor to make sure you are in good health.  

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By Parv Sagoo (July 2018)