Erectile dysfunction is common in people over 40 – and can be a sign of much bigger health issues, so it’s essential that you see a doctor to rule out any other conditions.

Erectile dysfunction is a common problem for men as they age

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition, but many men choose not to see a doctor due to the embarrassment of fear. However, this reluctance to seek help could cause a doctor to miss an early warning sign for certain life-threatening illnesses.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be caused by poor physical health, with high cholesterol or hypertension being listed as the main causes of a lack of sexual potency. However, erectile dysfunction can also indicate underlying and potentially permanent conditions.

If you don’t tell a doctor about any performance issues, they might overlook the possibility of testing for diabetes or heart disease – which are other leading causes of impotence.

Want to get the latest health news straight to your inbox? Sign up for the Mirror Health newsletter HERE

Both of these conditions typically cause problems with blood circulation, while also affecting the nervous system.

Sexual impotence can be a harbinger of serious illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

Dr Gigi Taguri, of Lloyds Pharmacy, said: “Erectile dysfunction tends to be more common in men over 40. Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity are common causes of erection problems and tend to be more common in men of this age.

“However, erectile dysfunction is not just an ‘older man’s problem’ and can affect men as young as 18.”

Figures published by the British Association of Urological Surgeons show that 90% of impotent men have at least one underlying physical cause for their problem, with 40% living with cardiovascular disease and 33% with diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, claiming an estimated 17.9 million lives each year according to the World Health Organization.

Can you take Viagra if you have any of these conditions?

Blister packs containing Viagra tablets, produced by Pfizer Inc


Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Just because you have erectile dysfunction caused by one of these underlying health conditions doesn’t mean you’re impotent.

It’s best to consult your doctor first, but common treatments like Viagra can be prescribed for people with diabetes or heart disease.

Dr Taguri said: “Yes, living with diabetes can mean erectile dysfunction is more common, but you should still be able to take medication for your erectile dysfunction.

“You will also need to check that you are not taking any medications that may interact with Viagra and other similar medications.

“In most cases, you can take erectile dysfunction medication if you have heart disease. If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke in the last six months, or if you take nitrates for a heart condition such as angina, most erectile dysfunction medications will not be prescribed to you.

“In these cases, a vacuum pump can help you manage your ED.”

Want to get the latest health news straight to your inbox? Sign up for the Mirror Health newsletter HERE

Read more

Read more