Erectile Dysfunction Causes

Why does Risk of Erectile Dysfunction Increase with Age?

Older men are more vulnerable to diseases that are associated with erectile dysfunction. In the process of aging in some men, a lumen of cavernous bodies decreases, and production of nitric oxide in nerves penetrating penile smooth muscles decreases.

What diseases can cause erectile dysfunction (ED)? A number of chronic diseases affect blood circulation, nervous and muscular systems, resulting in the development of organic impotence – more persistent and progressive erectile dysfunction type.

Diabetes Mellitus as ED Cause

Diabetes mellitus type 2 is a serious disease associated with a metabolic disorder. The propensity to it increases on background of excess weight and sedentary lifestyle. In patients with diabetes, erectile dysfunction symptoms develop about 10-15 years earlier than in men without this diagnosis.

The increased risk of erectile dysfunction is caused by early onset and severity of atherosclerosis, which narrows arteries and worsens blood supply to penile tissues. Insufficient blood circulation in groin causes weak erection.


Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2 can damage the autonomic nervous system, causing the development of diabetic neuropathy.

Especially risk of deterioration is high in men who continue to:

  • smoke;
  • abuse of alcohol and drugs;
  • eat harmful products.

Many patients with diabetes suffer from myopathy (muscular disease), in which cavernous bodies muscles condition is disturbed, and clinically this is manifested by inability to maintain an erection.

High Blood Pressure and Erectile Dysfunction

Hypertensive disease, namely its primary form (not associated with other diseases), increases risk of erectile dysfunction developing. Scientists have studied what causes erectile dysfunction in case of hypertension.

The main factors of potency weakening are:

  • reduction of elasticity of arteries;
  • increase in the level of substances that provoke their spasm.

As a result of vessels disorder, production of nitric oxide decreases, including penile tissues. It is this substance that helps to relax arteries and fill them with blood. Under high arterial pressure influence, inner walls of vessels are damaged (endothelial cells), therefore atherosclerosis progression is accelerated. It can also contribute to erectile dysfunction.

Cardiovascular diseases exhaustively affect the entire body, accelerating aging.

Atherosclerosis – arteries narrowing and sclerosing – worsens blood flow throughout the body. It develops under the influence of:

  • hypertension;
  • high cholesterol levels;
  • smoking;
  • diabetes.

With coronary arteries narrowing, supplying the heart muscle with blood, angina develops and heart attacks occur. If you are damaged by cerebral arteriosclerosis, supplying the brain with blood, strokes occur.

When penile and pelvic organs arteries contract because of atherosclerotic plaques, the penis does not receive the necessary amount of blood for an erection. There is a close relationship between the severity of atherosclerosis in coronary arteries and erectile dysfunction. Smoking is the most powerful factor in worsening arterial function, atherosclerosis pathogenesis and sexual weakness.

However, vascular impotence appears not only because of poor blood flow (arterial supply) but because of rapid venous outflow. Diagnosis of pathological venous drainage takes quite a long time since it is necessary to study all venous channels and find the disordered area.