Cardiovascular disease can bring about erectile dysfunction (ED) also known as impotence. Of particular concern is atherosclerosis which means hardening of the arteries. Plaque build up causes narrowing of blood vessels and makes it difficult for blood to flow through. Oxygen supply to those tissues is severely impaired. In the case of ED, the areas of the cavernosa can’t properly fill so that an erection can’t occur. This is a form of organic ED. One of the symptoms is pain and you end up with organ dysfunction. Some of these people are overweight and many are obese.
What Causes Atherosclerosis
In general, hardening of the arteries starts with damage to the inner cells of the blood vessel (endothelium). When these cells are damaged cholesterol and other fats accumulate in the damaged areas. Eventually calcium salts begin to deposit making the area hardened. There are a number of things that cause cell damage to the endothelium.
- high levels of saturated fat in blood – poor diet
- elevated levels of cholesterol – poor diet and/or liver overproduction
- blood vessel inflammation – a marker for this is c-reactive protein
- free-radical build up
- hypertension – high blood pressure
- excessive levels of LDLs and low levels of HDLs
- high homocysteine levels
Many of the causes of atherosclerosis are simply poor diet and a lack of proper exercise other than genetic complications.
Try to keep in mind that different parts of the body can be differentially effected so symptoms can vary.
- erectile dysfunction (impotence)
- decreased blood flow creating tissue damage including surface sores
- angina pectoris – heart pain from activity
- difficulty breathing
- blood clots from plaque rupture
- ischemia – blood vessel blockage – no blood flow to downstream tissue and tissue dies
Atherosclerosis Treatment and Prevention
It is possible to prevent hardening of the arteries and there are various treatments to repair it and much of this is by changes in lifestyle.
- cutting back on unhealthy fats, eat more healthy fats such as omega-3s and omega-6s
- diet low in sugar
- eat more oily fishes
- consume of lot of veggies and some fruits (not too much) as they are high in sugar – veggies and fruit supply antioxidants and fiber
- keep a low salt diet
- stop smoking
- maintain normal blood pressure
- lose weight
- exercise on a regular basis
- keep stress to a minimum – use meditation, music and exercise
- get plenty of sleep
If your cholesterol levels don’t come down with lifestyle changes, there are medications that can help you. Surgery is sometimes used to unclog arteries and pieces of arteries can be replaced with vessels from other places in your body or with an artificial artery. Keeping your arteries clean is very important for entire body and brain health. Otherwise, hardening of the arteries brings about a myriad of body/brain dysfunctions including erectile dysfunction or impotence. Ultimately, you need to maintain a healthy diet so your weight remains in a healthy range. All of this should keep you going for quite some time.