High blood pressure can be a silent yet potent health risk. On most occasions, there are no signs of high blood pressure. That’s one of the reasons it is often called “the silent killer.”
But does high blood pressure affect a man sexually?
In fact, yes. When this condition is left uncontrolled, it can lead to some very serious health problems over time, including heart disease, stroke, and—most notably—erectile dysfunction (ED).
Erectile dysfunction (ED), in essence, is the inability to get or keep an erection. When the blood arteries are too narrow, the heart must exert extra effort to pump blood through them.
In fact, 30% of men suffering from high blood pressure experience overlapping symptoms of erectile dysfunction. There’s a heavy correlation between these two diseases, and it can be debilitating to one’s sex life.
Your doctor can prescribe medication to help lower your blood pressure and improve your ED symptoms. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the underlying problem.
That said, let’s take a closer look at how high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction are associated, as well as ways to treat a possible diagnosis.
How High Blood Pressure Affects Erections
High blood pressure occurs when the arteries that carry blood to the heart are narrowed. This narrowing is caused by a buildup of plaque, a fatty substance in the blood.
The heart then has to work harder to pump blood through these narrowed and hardened arteries (atherosclerosis).
The increased force of the heart’s contractions can disrupt normal blood pressure and cause impaired penile blood flow, damaging the organ and arteries over time.
High blood pressure can lead to damaged blood vessels in the erectile tissue, which makes it more difficult to achieve erections.
An erection is formed when there’s enough blood flow that enters the erectile chambers. When this process is obstructed, there will not be enough blood for an erection to form.
To add to that, high blood pressure medication like beta blockers can also inadvertently exacerbate ED.
Fortunately, there are sexual dysfunction and high blood pressure treatment plans to mitigate this problem.
What Can You Do About HBP and ED?
Fortunately, there are ways to manage and reverse erectile dysfunction by taking proactive steps to lower your blood pressure.
Here are ways you can treat high blood pressure and improve erectile function:
1. Eating the Right Diet
For optimal heart and sexual health, a nutritious diet is essential.
Start by letting go of foods that can lead to a deteriorating health state. Reduce eating foods high in sodium, saturated fat, and refined sugars. These foods have been linked to type 2 diabetes, which is known to increase blood pressure and obesity.
You should also eat more foods that can help improve blood circulation like leafy greens, fatty fish, whole grains, dark chocolate, and pomegranates. Incorporating these foods into your diet can help reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and ED.
2. Exercising Regularly
Engaging in regular physical activity is one of the most effective ways to lower blood pressure. It also helps with weight management, which is another key factor in maintaining a healthy blood pressure level.
Aerobic exercises like swimming, jogging, and cycling are excellent choices. If you’re not used to exercising, start small. Begin with a brisk walk and some core exercises and go up from there.
According to medical sources, exercising 150 to 300 minutes a week is best for you to start reaping the results of improved health.
3. Quitting Vices Like Smoking
Smoking has been linked to malignant hypertension, according to one medical study. So if you find yourself constantly reaching for the elusive stick, it might be time to re-evaluate your choices.
Cigarette smoking constricts your blood vessels and damages their lining. This makes it difficult for blood to flow smoothly, leading to a higher risk for heart attacks, strokes, and—you guessed it—erectile dysfunction.
Unfortunately, e-cigarettes aren’t any better. People who use e-cigarettes are twice more likely to develop ED than those who don’t. So, if you want to improve your sexual function and protect your heart health, quitting smoking is non-negotiable.
4. Reducing Stress Levels
Stress is another factor that can lead to high blood pressure. In fact, one study showed that people who experienced chronic and occupational stress had a higher risk of developing hypertension.
When you’re stressed, your body produces the hormone cortisol. Among other things, cortisol narrows your blood vessels and increases your heart rate. These effects can lead to an increased blood pressure level.
To combat this, try to manage your stress levels by incorporating relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation into your daily routine. You can also try deep breathing exercises and aromatherapy to help you relax, as recommended by your practitioner.
5. Erectile Dysfunction Therapy
If natural remedies aren’t working, the next best thing is to go to a doctor and ask for medical help.
Your doctor can prescribe oral medications like phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors (PDE5i) to improve blood flow to your penis and facilitate erections. These drugs are taken when needed, usually 30 minutes to an hour before sexual intercourse. However, they also come with severe side effects like flushing and even blindness.
Besides ED pills, doctors may prescribe the following treatment plans:
- Topical gels
Consult an ED doctor to determine the best medical course of action for you.
6. Acoustic Wave Therapy
An alternative to oral medications, acoustic wave therapy is a non-invasive procedure that uses low-intensity sound waves to improve blood flow and stimulate new cell growth.
This treatment plan is usually recommended for men who can’t take ED drugs due to underlying medical conditions. It’s also an excellent choice for those who want to avoid the side effects of oral medications.
Contact Cincinnati’s Top Men’s Health Clinic for a Medical Consultation about ED
High blood pressure is a serious condition that can lead to ED. If you think you might have high blood pressure, it’s important to see a medical expert for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
In the meantime, there are things you can do to lower your risk of male health issues, like eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and reducing stress levels.
The medical professionals at Cincinnati’s Proactive Men’s Medical Center specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill for ED and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as ED, Low Testosterone, Adrenal Fatigue, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.