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Blood pressure impotence which is also refereed to as erectile dysfunction (ED) is twice prevalent in individuals suffering from high blood pressure than those with normal blood pressure. Statistically, as many as 30 million men in the United States suffer from ED. As many as 30% of hypertensive patients are impotent as a result of high blood pressure.
Sexual dysfunction drastically erodes the quality of life of individuals affected due to the impact it has on relationships and the confidence of those affected. It is for this reason that ED is considered a quality of life disorder.
Researchers point out that blood pressure impotence is largely under reported as well as under treated. They note that the area of sexual dysfunction is currently a patient driven field were affected patients themselves make an effort to research and find solutions in hopes of relief. It is also for this reason that we went deeper in this article to sift to the surface, by all means available, all information available in order to better help individual researchers start to knowledgeably address this problem.
There are two main sources of erectile dysfunction in hypertensive men. High blood pressure and high blood pressure medications.
Getting to a diagnosis of erectile dysfunction is not particularly a straightforward matter particularly in individuals who are hypertensive and whose high blood pressure is not being treated. This is because there are many other factors that may be responsible for the sexual dysfunction.
Among things to be eliminated before concluding that impotence is due to blood pressure, doctors must necessarily rule out a long list of neurological, psychiatric, urologic and endocrine disorders before diagnosing a condition as blood pressure impotence.
The mechanism linking high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction is located in endothelium dysfunction. Endothelium refers to the layer of cells that is lining the inside of blood vessels. Some studies suggest that hypertension disturbs the functioning of the endothelium leading to the contraction of the vascular smooth muscle (VSM). This results in a compromised penile erection.
While many people have considered ED to be a result of high blood pressure, hence constant reference to blood pressure impotence, it's been shown that erectile dysfunction itself is an early sign of hypertension.
This means ED can be a condition that presents prior to chronic high blood pressure. This presents an interplay between hypertension and erectile dysfunction. Researchers are in fact using this understanding to develop tools to predict hypertension and other systemic vascular disorders by observing erectile dysfunction.
Blood pressure medication is the second main cause of impotence in men. Pharmaceutical drugs that are used to treat high blood pressure have for the longest time been implicated in causing erectile dysfunction. According to a 2006 report in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension, blood pressure medication are responsible for patient non-adherence to blood pressure treatment regimen.
This is to say, hypertension sufferers who find themselves faced with blood pressure impotence due to medication side effects tend to abandon the medication with predictable consequences. Therefore, doctors worry not only because of the impairment of quality of life caused by erectile dysfunction due to hypertension drugs, but also because this impairment leads to non-compliance with high blood pressure medications.
Older generation high blood pressure drugs namely beta blockers and diuretics have been known to have negative effects on erectile function. Atenolol is an example of a beta blocker. In one study, Atenolol reduced the number of sexual intercourse encounters about nearly 8 times to about 4 times per month. This represents a nearly 50% cut in sexual intercourse due to blood pressure drug induced impotence. Similar results were also found with Carvedilol, another beta blocker.
It is therefore needful to consider the side effects of any blood pressure medication one maybe on in the quest to find relief against blood pressure impotence.
Studies show that drug side effects account for 25% of ED.
One of the most immediate interventions in treating blood pressure related impotence for those individuals on hypertension medication is to consider, the the help of a physician, newer-generation blood pressure medications such calcium antagonists, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. These have been shown to have neutral effects.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) such as Benicar and Diovan work by dilating blood pressure vessels in order to reduce blood pressure. These have been shown to have a positive impact erectile functionality in people suffering from high blood pressure. A group of 160 patients with untreated high blood pressure who used Valsartan, had improved sexual activity. ACE inhibitors are also beneficial to patients faced with blood pressure impotence which can be traced to medication side effects.
As a stand along medication for ED, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors such as Viagra and Revatio have been shown to work in treating blood pressure impotence alongside other multiple-agent antihypertensive drugs. While Viagra has become popular in recent years, it's been in use to treat ED since 1998.
Noting there is a link between obesity and erectile dysfunction, epidemiologic information points to a sedentary lifestyle presenting a risk for sexual dysfunction. Doctors recommend lifestyle modifications as a way of managing blood pressure impotence. Researchers however note that there remains limited data to support the total effectiveness of lifestyle changes in relieving ED.
Acupuncture which has gained momentum in recent years even among hypertension researchers is a viable consideration for treating erectile dysfunction. Not only would it possibly treat ED, it could also lower blood pressure.
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There are other means, natural means, available to address blood pressure related impotence. These remedies are supposed to be natural and may not have any scientific proof of their efficacy-
Erectile dysfunction usually precedes cardiovascular events by 3 to 5 years.
- World Journal of Cardiology
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