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Erectile Troubles in Middle Age a Bad Sign for Men’s Brains

Erectile Troubles in Middle Age a Bad Sign for Men’s Brains

FRIDAY, June 2, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Erectile dysfunction (ED) has been tied to an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Now, research suggests that erectile woes during late middle age may be linked to a person’s possibilities of developing memory issues in a while.

“Because subtle changes in erectile function were related to memory decline, our results suggest that neglecting this aspect of sexual health may contribute to cases of cognitive impairment and dementia in men,” said study writer Tyler Reed Bell. He’s a post-doctoral scholar on the University of California, San Diego.

“An oz of erectile function treatment could also be price kilos within the variety of years lived without cognitive impairment or dementia,” Bell reasoned.

Researchers don’t know precisely how the 2 conditions are linked, but they’ve a theory. “It is probably going related to microvascular changes [in the walls of the small blood vessels] which can be essential to each penile and cognitive health,” Bell suggested.

For the study, the researchers tracked associations between erectile function, sexual satisfaction, and memory and considering skills (“cognition”) in greater than 800 men, about age 56 on average on the study’s start.

The boys underwent tests of their memory and processing speed and accomplished questionnaires about erectile function and sexual satisfaction after they were 56, 61 and 68.

Those men who had reduced erectile function at age 56 were more prone to have lower scores on the memory and processing speed tests at the identical age. As well as, men with lower erectile function when the study began showed greater and faster declines in memory over time, the findings showed.

“Possibly we should always start excited about ED as a canary within the coal mine,” said study lead writer Carol Franz, a professor psychiatry at UCSD. “From our and other research ED appears to be an early sensitive indicator of multiple facets of poor cognitive, physical, and mental health in men — prior to overt manifestation of other diseases.”

So the message from each researchers is: Don’t wait. If you happen to notice problems in erectile function, even slight changes, consult with your doctor.

A health care provider will help rule out many possible reasons for erectile function problems and develop a plan involving medication and lifestyle changes to enhance erectile function, Bell said.

“Sixty is the brand new 30, and there needs to be no reason to think about ED an inevitable health symptom just as we’d not accept ED as a standard symptom when someone is of their early adult years,” Bell said.

The study, recently published in The Gerontologist, can’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Still, “we all know that ED generally is a marker of health issues and generally is a predictor of overall cardiac health as well, and now that it has been linked to cognitive function, it’s much more essential to forestall vascular disease from getting worse,” agreed Dr. Raevti Bole, a urologist on the Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Men should see their primary care doctor after they first notice problems achieving or maintaining an erection. “ED will be the first issue that many men notice and needs to be the one which makes them pick up their phone to call the doctor,” said Bole, who had no ties to the brand new study.

“If there are any health issues which can be resulting in the ED, corresponding to hypertension, cardiac disease or diabetes, it’s essential to get them diagnosed and treated,” Bole said.

This proactive approach can stave off further damage. “If the underlying conditions proceed to go untreated and so they worsen, this will result in worsening vascular disease and worsening problems everywhere in the body, not only the erections,” Bole added.

Franz agreed, but noted that “few people understand that ED is a red flag. What number of physicians incorporate such questions into annual checkups in order that they’ve a way of when changes occur or help men to feel more comfortable talking about their sexual health?”

“Hopefully this research will help educate men, their partners, and the medical community about ED and reduce the stigma related to talking about this condition,” she said.

More information

Learn more about how ED is diagnosed and treated on the Cleveland Clinic.

SOURCES: Tyler Reed Bell, PhD, post-doctoral scholar, University of California, San Diego; Carol Franz, PhD, professor of psychiatry, University of California, San Diego; Raevti Bole, MD, urologist, Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio; The Gerontologist, March 2023


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