What is the Connection Between General Health and Impotence?

B. Schreiber
B. Schreiber
Poor diet can cause impotence in young men.
Poor diet can cause impotence in young men.

The connection between general health and impotence lies in the fact that impotence is often related to lifestyle diseases such as obesity, type II diabetes, and conditions that can lead to heart disease. These factors all have a negative effect on blood flow, which is critical for establishing and maintaining an erection. Sometimes a few of these factors may exist for an individual. Any steps taken to improve these general health conditions will likely have a positive impact on impotence.

Smoking can cause plaque to build up in the arteries, restricting blood flow and leading to impotence.
Smoking can cause plaque to build up in the arteries, restricting blood flow and leading to impotence.

Diseases that affect the cardiovascular system can reduce the adequate flow of blood to all parts of the body, including the penis, which makes it more difficult to achieve erection. Atherosclerosis, which is associated with high cholesterol and triglycerides, can narrow the arteries and diminish circulation. Arteriosclerosis, which is often caused by high blood pressure, has a similar effect and can contribute to impotence. Aerobic exercise lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, so regular exercise may improve erectile dysfunction.

Diabetes, obesity and a lifestyle that leads to risk of heart disease can contribute to impotence.
Diabetes, obesity and a lifestyle that leads to risk of heart disease can contribute to impotence.

Exercise is an important factor in overall health and impotence too. In men who are out of shape, the physical demands of sexual activity can divert blood from the penis and make it difficult to maintain an erection. Exercise improves circulation, strengthens the heart, and helps the body use oxygen more efficiently. Each of these benefits can make it easier to maintain arousal.

Depression can lower interest in sex and diminish performance.
Depression can lower interest in sex and diminish performance.

While a good diet is important for a healthy body, its relation to overall health and impotence is less clear. A low-fat diet that reduces cholesterol and triglycerides may improve erectile dysfunction. Inadequate nutrition could contribute to impotence, so it's a good idea to eat a varied diet.

In addition to the other health problems it's known for, cigarette smoking is one of the more common causes of impotence. This is due to a number of factors that affect both overall health and impotence. Smoking causes hardening of the arteries, damages the heart, and reduces blood flow to extremities, including the penis. It is also harmful to the small veins of the penis, which deliver the blood necessary for erection. Continuing to smoke also lowers the effectiveness of medications and other treatments.

Sometimes mental health and impotence are related. Depression can lower interest in sex and diminish performance. It may also make it difficult to establish or maintain an erection. Anxiety disorders can also distract a man from sex, resulting in the same declines as those caused by depression. For some men, psychological therapy or medication to treat mental health disorders may be the most beneficial first step in an impotence cure.

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    • Poor diet can cause impotence in young men.
      Poor diet can cause impotence in young men.
    • Smoking can cause plaque to build up in the arteries, restricting blood flow and leading to impotence.
      Smoking can cause plaque to build up in the arteries, restricting blood flow and leading to impotence.
    • Diabetes, obesity and a lifestyle that leads to risk of heart disease can contribute to impotence.
      Diabetes, obesity and a lifestyle that leads to risk of heart disease can contribute to impotence.
    • Depression can lower interest in sex and diminish performance.
      Depression can lower interest in sex and diminish performance.