Aging is one of the major risk factors for erectile dysfunction. Men in their 40’s have approximately a 40% chance of having some form of ED and this prevalence increases by about 10% in each succeeding decade. Generally speaking, diminished blood flow, most commonly on the basis of an accumulation of fatty plaque deposits within the walls of blood vessels, is often associated with the aging process. As we age, physiological and lifestyle factors combine to increase this plaque build-up, causing a significant narrowing of many of the body’s blood vessels. The resultant diminution in blood flow to our organs negatively affects the functioning of all of our systems, since every cell in our body is dependent upon the vascular system for delivery of vital oxygen and nutrients and removal of metabolic waste products. Pelvic atherosclerosis, the accumulation of fatty deposits within the walls of the blood vessels that bring blood to the penis, will diminish blood flow and incite sexual dysfunction. Ironically, too, any loss of sexual function can lead to further progression of the problem: unfortunately, deficiency in genital blood flow, which may initiate sexual dysfunction, produces a state of poor oxygen levels (hypoxia) in the genital tissues. This, in turn, induces tissue scarring (fibrosis), which further compounds sexual dysfunction.
Many adults in the USA are beset with Civilization Syndrome, a cluster of health issues that have arisen as a direct result of our poor dietary choices and sedentary lifestyle. Civilization Syndrome can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and can result in such health problems as erectile dysfunction, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cancer, and premature death. The diabetic situation in our nation—often referred to as “diabesity”— has become widely prevalent and it probably comes as no surprise that diabetes is one of the leading causes of sexual dysfunction in the United States.