Obesity may increase men's proneness to erectile dysfunction (ED), likely caused by atherosclerosis-related hypertension and cardiovascular disease, according to a research article.
Hormonal changes associated with obesity may also increase the risk, adds the article published in the journal Obesity and Weight Management.
The write-up published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. points out that as many as 30-40 per cent of men over the age of 50 may experience ED, and both obesity and physical inactivity may increase their risk.
It states that the build-up of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries of obese men can damage the arterial lining, and contribute to elevated blood pressure.
Besides atherosclerosis, according to the write-up, the hormonal changes that accompany obesity, including lower testosterone, increase the risk of ED.
The modifiable risk factors for heart disease, such as excess weight, diabetes, and hypertension, are generally the same as those for ED. Studies have shown that weight loss and increased physical activity can improve ED.
Dr. Adam Gilden Tsai, from the University of Colorado Denver, and Dr. David Sarwer, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, even talk about a 48-year-old man with mild obesity and hypertension, who suffers from ED in the article "Obesity and Erectile Dysfunction", in the article.
They say that even ED medication-tadalafil, Cialis, Eli Lilly-did not help him much in achieving an erection adequate for intercourse.
They stress that it is only after dietary counselling, a 4.6 per cent weight reduction, and medication to lower his blood pressure to within the normal range that the patient has been able to achieve adequate erections with the use of ED medication as needed.
The authors emphasize: "The complicated interplay of weight and other health conditions relate to common medical symptoms, such as ED. We are reminded that atherosclerosis can cause not only macrovascular disease such as heart attack and stroke, but also microvascular disease, of which ED is one example."
"If you are looking for another reason to lose weight, research now suggests that erectile dysfunction can improve with weight loss," says Dr. James O. Hill, Editor-in-Chief of Obesity and Weight Management, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine and Director of the Center for Human Nutrition and of the Colorado Clinical Nutrition Research Unit at the University of Colorado Denver.