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Are You At Risk for Erectile Dysfunction?

Medically reviewed by Mike Kenneth Go Doratan, MD · General Surgery · The Medical City Ortigas

Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Aug 27, 2020

    Are You At Risk for Erectile Dysfunction?

    In 2005, Philippine pharmaceutical companies dealing with ED reported that 6 million Filipinos suffered from erectile dysfunction.

    Based on a study done in 2011 comparing Asian nations, the prevalence of ED was the highest in the Philippines (33%). That is: 1 in 3 Filipino men.

    Studies show that by 2025, this number would rise to 320 million worldwide. 

    To better understand erectile dysfunction, it helps to know the possible Are you at risk for erectile dysfunction? To answer this, it’s essential to take a peek into what goes on in your body when you’re in a state of arousal.

    Learning more about how you get an erection can offer more insight as to why you’re getting those issues in the first place.

    What Happens During An Erection?

    Erections usually happen when you get sexually stimulated. Sometimes, men get erections for no reason at all.

    Either way, erections happen when the tissue in the penis becomes swollen. This is because blood rushes to the organ faster than the blood can flow out. This causes the penis to stiffen up or erect. 

    The corpora cavernosa, or the “cave-like body’ of the penis, is responsible for erections. Arteries are responsible for bringing blood to the corpora cavernosa, while veins are responsible for draining the blood away. 

    In its flaccid state, arteries that bring blood to the corpora cavernosa constrict while the veins that drain the blood are relaxed. This makes it impossible for pressurized blood to build-up in the corpora cavernosa, causing the penis to be limp.

    However, when a man becomes aroused, pressurized blood quickly enters the arteries leading to the corpora cavernosa because they’re open. This time, the veins constrict, causing blood to be trapped in the corpora cavernosa. This creates an erection. 

    Erectile dysfunctions happen when the arteries in the corpora cavernosa don’t open up properly. The arteries need to be entirely opened to achieve a full erection, as this encourages blood flow. This is one of the technicalities of why some men can’t get an erection, or why some men only get an erection halfway. 

    Erectile dysfunction or impotence is possible if:

    • A man has difficulty getting an erection.
    • They have trouble keeping an erection, or if you lose an erection halfway through sex.
    • They can’t get aroused, which leads to failure to get an erection.

    at risk for erectile dysfunction

    What Makes a Man At Risk for Erectile Dysfunction?

    Erection problems or impotence usually become more frequent for men who reach the age of 40. Impotence related to age is typically referred to as “aging-related erectile dysfunction” or ARED. A study associated with ARED found that 40% of men in their 40’s will suffer from some form of erectile dysfunction. 

    The study also found that the prevalence of erectile dysfunction increases as a decade is added to a man’s age. For example, a man in his 50’s will have a 50% chance of developing sexual dysfunction while a man in his 60’s will have a 60% chance and so forth.

    Other risk factors include:

    • Medical conditions like diabetes can make you more at risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Experts also say that there can be a link between heart problems and erectile dysfunction since both can occur when the lining of the blood vessels don’t work correctly. 
    • Smoking can make you more at risk of developing erectile dysfunction because of its effects on the cardiovascular system, which also affects penile functions.
    • Obesity or being overweight.
    • Radiation treatment
    • Injuries
    • Medications like antidepressants.
    • Psychological conditions like depression or anxiety.
    • Drug or alcohol use.

    It’s also important to note that your mind plays a significant role in arousal. If you’re too anxious or preoccupied with something else, your body might be able to focus on the moment. Experiencing trouble with erections isn’t a cause of worry because it happens to everyone. 

    Erectile dysfunction is a cause of concern because of how it affects self-image and confidence, along with the fact that it may be an underlying sign of a heart condition.

    However, it’s a lot more common than you think.

    How Is Erectile Dysfunction Treated?

    Treatment for erectile dysfunction or impotence depends on what’s causing it. If it’s caused by the narrowing of the blood vessels in the penis, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, your doctor might prescribe medication for hypertension or the lowering of cholesterol.

    Sometimes, erectile dysfunction can be caused by hormone problems. In this case, the doctor may suggest taking hormone replacements. If the medication you’re considering is causing impotence, then your doctor can change your prescription.

    Your doctor can also prescribe medications called phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE-5 inhibitors), like sildenafil (or Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis)

    at risk for erectile dysfunction

    Natural Ways To Prevent Erectile Dysfunction

    Most causes of erectile dysfunction are related to your overall health and well-being. Although erectile dysfunction can be treated, there are ways to prevent this condition from worsening as you get older.

    1. Exercise. Studies have shown that moderate exercise helps with the prevention of erectile dysfunction, along with other conditions as well.
    2. Maintain a healthy diet. This is an all-encompassing solution for most threats to your health. You can never go wrong with a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and enough protein. Weight reduction and improvement in lifestyle can improve libido and erectile function in men.
    3. Make better lifestyle choices. Consider reducing your alcohol intake and controlling your smoking habits. Avoiding erectile dysfunction means making better choices, especially in terms of your habits that have a direct effect on your health.

    Erectile dysfunction is a common condition among men, even more common among men approaching the age of 40. Usually, it shouldn’t be a cause of worry but recurring problems with erections can signal an underlying condition.

    It’s best to talk to your medical practitioner about your options with regards to the prevention or treatment of this condition. 


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mike Kenneth Go Doratan, MD

    General Surgery · The Medical City Ortigas

    Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Aug 27, 2020

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