A Sensitive Men’s Health Issue

By Byron E. Conner, M.D.

I would like to address this article to all men about a sensitive health issue, and give you some important information that you may not have been aware of. This health problem is one that we may have seen addressed in a humerous way by stand-up comics on television. Even cartoons have been produced that make light of this problem. Medications have been manufactured to help with this problem.

These drugs may be sold by the use of misleading and inaccurate information. There are three drugs in particular whose names I will not mention. I will just say that in the commercials we may see a couple who want to be able to have intimate relations when “the time is right”.

However, the man suffers from what is called Erectile Dysfunction or ED (and I will use that term ED in the remaining portion of this article). The drugs offered are presented as a solution to ED. The sellers of these drugs have recently noted that people need to “tell their doctor about their health problems”, and that high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking may be related to ED. However, the most important concen is that you get one of those medications to help with ED!

Let me just say that your doctor, if he or she is doing their job properly, should be asking you what your health problems are! They do need to tell you that high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking may be related to ED. There also are medications that may in fact cause ED. Moreover, you need to understand that the final solution to ED is not to just buy a very expensive and at times ineffective medication!

When you see commercials on TV or elsewhere dealing with the problem we are discussing, look at them with an attitude of skepticism and remember that the bottom line with these ads it to make money for the drug companies!
Recent medical information reveals that ED may be a sign of, and also related to, a serious health condition called atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.
In fact it may mean that those who have ED may be at higher risk of heart attack and stroke due to artery disease. This circulation problem may effect the arteries of the penis as well as arteries in the heart and other parts of the body. Therefore if you have ED you need to have a medical evaluation. The most crucial thing to understand is that some important lifestyle changes are needed and that these lifestyle changes may save your life, in addition to helping ED — perhaps better than those medications that are advertised! I hope you understand then that ED is more than just an embarrassing problem -‑ it is a serious health issue.
So let me give you a list of things you need to do to help with this problem:

  • Discuss your medications with your doctor as some of them may cause or aggravate ED, especially some blood pressure medications
  • Get your blood pressure under good control, as close to 120/80 or so, as possible as this will reduce your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke and may help with ED
  • Get your diabetes under control if you have it-talk with your doctor about where your blood sugar should be
  • TOP SMOKING!!-ask for help from your doctor
  • Lose weight as this may be of significant help-get your body weight to a level agreed on by you and your doctor
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise–at least 30 or more minutes daily
  • Get your cholesterol under control-ask your doctor where it should be
  • Eat a healthy diet: low in saturated fat (mostly in animal products such as whole milk, red meat); reduced fried foods, snack food, fast foods. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Cut trans fats largely out of your diet. Read labels. Talk to a dietician if needed.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol use–more than 2 drinks daily, or use none at all!

I hope that you can see that the lifestyle measure that can prevent a stroke or heart attack may also help with ED. Don’t just take the advertised medication for ED. Instead, adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Men, I trust by God’s grace you will use this information to help you to live longer and better.

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