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Understanding Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Understanding Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Although men are reluctant to seek help for erection problems, these are much more common in the population than people think – and many cases are eminently treatable. One of the first research studies that drew attention to the prevalence of Erectile Dysfunction – or Impotence as it was called in those days – was the 1994 Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS).

Based on their study sample of 1290 American men, the researchers found that up to 40% of men in their forties admitted to having erection difficulties – and this figure rose to around 70% of men in their seventies. Today, thanks to the marketing of effective drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra by multinational pharmaceutical companies, Erectile Dysfunction (also known as ED) is very much in the news.

More and more men who feel they are suffering from this condition are now consulting their doctors about it. In the 21st century, ED is no longer a symptom that men (and their partners) suffer in silence.

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What exactly is meant by Erectile Dysfunction?

The best definition of Erectile Dysfunction is the persistent inability to attain and/or maintain erection adequate to permit satisfactory sexual intercourse. Basically, erection takes place because when a man undergoes sexual stimulation, chemicals are released by the body which cause the arteries supplying blood to the penis to dilate (enlarge) and so increase blood flow to the penis.

This results in the spongy tissues in the penis (called the Corpora Cavernosa) becoming engorged and turgid – and so the penis enlarges and becomes erect. In simple terms, erection is caused by an increase of blood flowing into the penis – so anything that reduces blood flow to the organ will result in inadequate erections.

What causes it?

This is why men with diseases associated with narrowed arteries – such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes – are more at risk of suffering from ED. Says Dr Geoffrey Hackett, a specialist in sexual medicine from Birmingham in England, in an article in the British Medical Journal.

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“Erectile dysfunction is the manifestation of vascular disease in the smaller arteries and gives a two to three year early warning of myocardial infarction”.

In other words, a man who has ED is already having narrowing of his arteries, and if this is not detected and treated correctly, he is at risk of suffering angina or a heart attack in a couple of years.

What can be done about it?

The important principles of managing the condition are:

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  • If a man feels he is having Erectile Dysfunction, he should see his doctor and have an examination plus blood tests to check whether this is an early symptom of cardiovascular disease.
  • Once narrowing of the blood vessels is excluded (or treatment for vascular disease commenced) then medications to correct the erection difficulty can be prescribed.

Fortunately, ED is easily treated. Most men who suffer ED due to narrowed arteries will benefit from using one of a group of drugs known as Phosphodiesterase-5, or PDE5 inhibitors in short. The best-known being:

  • Viagra (Sildenafil) : Available on the market since 1998
  • Cialis (Tadalafil) : Available on the market since 2003
  • Levitra (Vardenafil) : Available on the market since 2003

In the less common situation where PDE5 inhibitors are ineffective in re-establishing efficacious erections, other techniques such as injections, vacuum pumps, surgical implants or a stem cell therapy may be utilized.

The take home message

Erectile Dysfunction is common, in most instances it’s treatable – and could be an early warning sign of developing coronary heart disease.

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Also, living a healthier life, full of exercise and following a healthy diet, has been found to have a huge role in the prevention as well as in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

Featured photo credit: shutterstock via thumb7.shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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