What’s the link between ED and high cholesterol?
The waxy substance found in your blood is cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for building healthy cells, but high cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease.
Blood vessels can develop fatty deposits when you have high cholesterol. Eventually, these deposits increase, causing your arteries to be unable to carry enough blood. Sometimes, those deposits can break suddenly, forming clots that can cause heart attacks or strokes.
There is a possibility that high cholesterol can be inherited, but it is usually caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices, which makes it preventable and treatable. In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, medication has also proven to be effective at reducing high cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol is expected to be the cause of many underlying health conditions. This includes erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction is basically a disorder found in men which could be a sign of physical or psychological condition. The symptoms associated with this disorder is found in men’s reproductive organ i.e. inability to keep an erection firmer and longer enough during a sexual activity.
There are many men who experience erectile dysfunction occasionally because of stress, fatigue, alcohol, or emotional issues, but 25% of men have recurring episodes of the disorder. People dealing with erectile dysfunction will be:
- Unable to achieve erection at anytime needed.
- might achieve erection sometime but not when needed like during sexual activity.
- might able to achieve erection when needed but not long enough
What’s the link?
The majority of the time, ED is a symptom of another underlying medical problem. Generally speaking, ED is usually a symptom of another underlying health condition. There are many cases in which an underlying condition affects the blood flow around the body, which causes ED. In addition to being associated with many of these conditions, high cholesterol has also been linked to ED.
The blood is filled with cholesterol, which is a waxy substance. This essential chemical plays an important role in the formation of new tissues, as well as bile production and the production of sexual hormones.
Despite cholesterol’s importance, too much of it can cause a number of health problems. A lipoprotein with a high density is called high density lipoprotein (HDL); a lipoprotein with a low density is called low density lipoprotein (LDL).
Cholesterol of the LDL type is the type that causes problems. If atheroma builds up inside the arteries, blood can’t flow as freely as it should, due to the narrowing of the arteries and the difficulty of passing through them. Atherosclerosis is the accumulation of this substance, which can cause serious health complications, such as ED.
Statins and erectile dysfunction
Statins are drugs that lower cholesterol levels. Researchers found improved erectile function following atorvastatin (Lipitor) treatment of rats with high cholesterol. There was no change in lipid levels.
The researchers concluded that better erectile function was not the result of a decrease in cholesterol levels, but rather an improvement in the endothelium. In blood vessels, the endothelium covers the interior surface.
On the other hand, a 2009 study found evidence suggesting that lipid-lowering medications may cause or aggravate ED. It was found that men who stopped taking statins recovered from ED in more than half of the cases.
Diet, cholesterol, and ED
The consumption of foods high in cholesterol won’t necessarily alter your blood cholesterol levels. It should be noted, however, that your diet can still influence your ED. In recent studies, it has been demonstrated that eating a healthy diet, especially the Mediterranean diet, can have a positive impact on symptoms. Some of such Mediterranean diet includes:
- fish and other seafood, such as shrimp and oysters
- fruits, such as apples, grapes, strawberries, and avocados
- vegetables, such as tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, and onions
- whole grains, such as barley and oats
- healthy fats, such as olives and extra-virgin olive oil
- nuts, such as almonds and walnuts
Some of the food one must avoid includes:
- foods high in trans fats, such as margarine, frozen pizza, and fast food
- foods made with added sugar
- certain vegetable oils, including canola oil
- processed meats and other foods
What the research says
Atherosclerosis, which is a narrowing of the blood vessels, causes ED most commonly.
There are many factors that contribute to atherosclerosis, including high cholesterol. The reason for this is that high cholesterol levels in the blood can lead to a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries. In turn, this can narrow the blood vessels.
ED and hypercholesterolemia, otherwise known as high cholesterol, have also been linked by researchers. Research has examined cholesterol-lowering drugs for the treatment of ED in part due to this link, which isn’t fully understood yet.
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