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Metabolic Syndrome and Erectile Dysfunction

<p>Metabolic Syndrome and Erectile Dysfunction</p>
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

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Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 8 min read

By definition, Metabolic Syndrome is a conglomeration of medical conditions that work together and increase your risk of developing serious conditions. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a sexual problem that makes it difficult for a man to attain and maintain an erection.

But what if these two conditions are linked? As the most common sexual dysfunction, ED is linked with a number of serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease (CVD) and Metabolic Syndrome. ED has some of the same risk factors as metabolic Syndrome. Men who have ED are at risk of developing other life-threatening conditions. 

While metabolic syndrome is a relatively new phenomenon, it affects as many as one third of American adults. That is why it is so important to keep preexisting conditions in check and to see a doctor if you experience symptoms that are unusual for you.

Recent studies have found that androgens, hormones that determine male characteristics, may be to blame for the development of metabolic syndrome. In fact, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome is higher in men with ED than it is in men without the condition. Having moderate to severe ED increases the likelihood of developing this condition. Experts at the National Library of Medicine believe that Metabolic Syndrome in itself is “an independent risk factor” for ED. 

This means that men with Metabolic Syndrome have a higher likelihood of developing not only heart problems, but also lifelong conditions that can be fatal. Although not every man with ED experiences health issues, it is a good idea to eat healthy, exercise, and maintain good health. However, what is healthy for one man may be unhealthy for another. 

Some of the most common causes of ED in older men are conditions that hinder blood flow to the penis. Conditions that may block blood flow to the penis include diabetes and atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries. For many years, doctors blamed ED on psychological factors. In general, men see a decline in sexual function as they age, but men should seek help if lack of arousal becomes a regular problem.

Another factor that can lead to ED is having impaired veins that block blood flow to the penis. Some surgeries and hormonal imbalances may also cause ED. The nervous system regulates blood vessel functions that lead to a successful erection. Certain medications can mess with signals that facilitate erections. These medications can include drugs for cancer and high blood pressure. Stimulants, diuretics, and antihistamines can also cause problems. 

The use of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs can lead to ED. Not being able to attain an erection is a common problem for men as they age. Younger men are also affected by this condition. However, younger men may develop ED as a result of other factors. 

Stress, fatigue, and depression are common causes of ED in younger men. Causes of ED in younger men may also include feelings of inadequacy, social rejection, and past sexual abuse. Some of the most common treatments for ED include taking medications, such as Viagra and Cialis. These drugs should be taken prior to intercourse. These medications increase the volume of blood that is delivered to the penis. 

In some cases, ED may be caused by low testosterone levels. If this is the case, your doctor may prescribe testosterone. However, testosterone supplements will not work if your ED was caused by nerve problems or circulation issues.   

According to a study conducted in 2015, the incidence of cases of Metabolic Syndrome has increased. As a result, the number of people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus has increased significantly. Metabolic Syndrome brings with it an array of risk factors that can cause a number of conditions. Such conditions include obesity, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, and glucose intolerance. 

If you have one of these conditions, it does not necessarily mean you have metabolic syndrome. However, it may indicate that you are more likely to develop a “serious disease,” experts say. There is the potential to develop conditions that are more serious. 

Other conditions, such as high cholesterol, excess belly fat, and abnormal triglyceride levels, are signs of metabolic syndrome. These fall under the umbrella of conditions that make up metabolic syndrome. Because of this, it is important to be aware of these risk factors to help you maintain good health. If you have metabolic syndrome or any of the conditions associated with it, your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes rises exponentially. 

According to experts at the National Institutes for Health, metabolic syndrome can make ED much worse than it would be in individuals without the condition. Metabolic syndrome is known to cause ED. However, there are ways to counteract your risk of developing ED from metabolic syndrome. Researchers have found that staying physically active and maintaining a lean form can significantly reduce your risk of developing ED. Obesity is believed to be a risk factor for sexual dysfunction in both men and women. 

According to the Wiley Online Library, a 2006 study that followed men with metabolic syndrome yielded interesting results. The study found that seventy-four percent of participants with metabolic syndrome had ED, while 50 percent of men without metabolic syndrome had ED. ED significantly lowers quality of life for men. 

But how is ED diagnosed? If you suspect that you may have ED, your doctor will examine you and ask you a number of questions. 

If your doctor thinks an underlying condition or preexisting condition may be responsible, he or she may recommend that you see a specialist. You may then need to have a number of different tests. These may include a blood test to screen for diabetes and heart disease. You may also be required to have a physical exam where your doctor examines your penis and testicles to look for any loss of sensation. Your doctor may also order a urine test to check for diabetes and any other signs of underlying conditions. 

Additionally, your doctor may order an ultrasound. While ultrasounds are typically common for pregnancy, they are also used to examine blood vessels in the penis. Ultrasounds are typically performed by a specialist. An ultrasound creates a video picture of the blood vessels and internal chambers of the penis. This test also determines whether you have any problems with blood flow.   

But what about metabolic syndrome? How is it diagnosed? If you exhibit any symptoms of metabolic syndrome, your healthcare provider will order a series of blood tests to check for diabetes, heart disease, and low testosterone levels. Your doctor may also look for other underlying conditions that could be causing a problem. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, your doctor or healthcare provider will perform blood tests to check for any conditions that are indicative of metabolic syndrome. 

This may take place during a routine checkup. In addition, your doctor may check your weight, blood pressure, and waist size. Your doctor will also take into consideration your medical and family history and may perform diagnostic tests. When your doctor conducts a physical exam, he or she will measure your waist and will determine if you have abdominal obesity. Abdominal obesity is a symptom of metabolic syndrome.

Men with a waist measurement of 40 inches and women with a waist measurement of 35 inches are considered obese. If your waist measures above 35 inches, your doctor may call for additional tests to make a diagnosis. He or she may also ask for bloodwork and will check your blood pressure. It’s important to know what a healthy blood pressure is. A healthy blood pressure for adults is typically under “120/80 mm Hg (milligrams of mercury).” These units are used to measure blood pressure. 

If your blood pressure is consistently over 130/85, you may have high blood pressure, a symptom of metabolic syndrome. If you have metabolic syndrome, your chance of developing type 2 diabetes is higher than other individuals. Carrying around extra weight can lead you to develop insulin resistance. This can lead to high blood sugar, a condition in which cells, fat, muscles, and the liver don’t react well to insulin.  

While experts don’t know exactly what causes metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol appears to be one of its biggest risk factors. A sedentary lifestyle and obesity are believed to be risk factors for metabolic syndrome. Experts also believe that high cholesterol can put you at risk of developing the condition. Because insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome are linked, many people believe that hormonal changes caused by stress may be to blame for abdominal fat, a problem that affects many Americans.

According to experts, one of the best ways to treat metabolic syndrome is to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. To do this, you should opt for a healthy lifestyle. You may need to see a dietician to develop an exercise routine that fits into your lifestyle. If making lifestyle changes does not help, you may need to take medication or have weight loss surgery.



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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.