Some Things That Can Affect Erections
Getting an erection not only “happens”, it is actually a complex process that involves hormones, nerves and your vascular, psychological and general health working together. An imbalance in even just one of these factors is enough to compromise your erections, so it is important to do whatever you can to make everything work as it should.
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- Nutrition and diet: it is important to eat a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. The deeper the color, the more antioxidants they have. One study showed that men who ate blackberries every day had better erections than those who did not. And don’t go crazy with calories. Do not eat as if you never eat again. Instead, eat only what you need to get to the next meal.
- Body weight: The weight puts additional pressure on your heart and can cause high blood pressure and diabetes, in addition to altering your hormones, all of which are bad for erections.
- Exercise: Study after study shows that staying active keeps erections healthy and functional as you get older. You don’t have to spend hours every day in the gym, even walking alone briskly several times a week can make a difference. A “couch potato” lifestyle will increase your chances of erectile dysfunction (ED).
- Alcohol: excess alcohol damages the liver and brain, as well as the testicles, the source of testosterone. You may not see the effects on your erections immediately, but drinking too much will definitely increase the risks of erectile dysfunction later in your life.
- Marijuana: Although many consider it safe, and even legal in some states, regular marijuana use can reduce a man’s testosterone, which can lead to many problems, including erectile dysfunction.
- Avoid atrophy: the old saying says: “use it or lose it.” Ideally, you should remain sexually active several times a week to maintain active and healthy blood flow and nerves.
- Blood pressure and medications: high blood pressure damages the blood vessels needed for an erection. However, many medications used to treat high blood pressure can also affect erections, so talk with your doctor about the right treatment for you. Some categories of blood pressure medications have fewer erection problems.
- Depression and medications: depression itself and the medications used to treat it and other mood problems are known erection killers. If you have problems with one of these medications, talk to your doctor to see if you can switch to a different medication that may not cause ED.
- Sleep apnea: Men with sleep disorders are much more likely to develop ED. If you have trouble sleeping well at night, talk to your doctor about a sleep study.
- Vascular health: healthy arteries and veins that work well for erections are needed. High cholesterol, damage to blood pressure, nervous system problems and diabetes can affect the blood flow needed to have a good erection.
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If you experience erection problems, make an appointment with your doctor for a thorough evaluation. Erection problems are often a sign that you may have a much more serious health problem. As with your health, maintaining erections throughout your life is an investment that begins now.
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