Repeated studies have proven without a doubt a connection between high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction in men. Anywhere from 50-65% of men over 40 with high blood pressure also suffer some level of ED, sometimes extreme.
But what is the connection? Does high blood pressure really cause ED or is there just an indirect connection? And if it does, how? That’s the subject of today’s feature article.
Note: below you may experience language not suitable to children.
To understand how high blood pressure and ED are connected, we first have to understand the basic physiology of the human penis and the erection process.
You see the penis is mostly made up of two side-by-side chambers of spongy tissue. In these chambers you’ll find small arteries on the inner part and veins on the outer part surrounded by smooth muscle fiber and most importantly, empty spaces.
When a man begins to feel aroused, the smooth muscles in the chambers relax and relief pressure from the arteries, which deliver blood into the empty spaces of the penis. When the penis begins filling up, the tissue surrounding the chambers presses on the veins draining the penis so less blood can now flow out. This increases the blood pressure (positive) in the penis even further and causes a full erection.
It’s just like blowing a bubble, as long as more air (blood) flows in than settles out, the bubble (penis) will expand and stay hard.
Once excitement ends, ejaculation is reached or for unforeseen events the smooth muscles in the penis contract again, pressing on the arteries so less blood flows in than out. The penis slacks. Fun is over.
So in essence, to reach and keep a full erection you need three things;
1) Strong enough nerve signals (arousal) to trigger the whole process,
2) Flexible arteries to deliver enough blood pressure to fill up and create the block in the veins of the penis,
3) flexibility and relaxation of the smooth muscles so pressure from the arteries can fill the spaces.
Now let’s take a full flip-flop and look at what happens with high blood pressure…
The reason high blood pressure is considered one of the main health hazards of the human race is that it puts extreme tension on the arteries delivering blood around the body. We often focus too much on the arteries in the heart (that’s where the highest pressure is and heart attack happens) but every single artery in your body is overloaded at the moment.
Every artery in the body is designed to expand and contract thousands of times throughout the day as more or less blood delivery is needed. This is obviously necessary in the penis for the erectile process but every single artery needs to do that. As arteries are bombarded by blood pressure that is chronically too high, they need to strengthen themselves so they won’t break. They do this by thickening the artery walls. But that happens at the expense of flexibility. So now the arteries can’t deliver as much blood and are even more vulnerable because hard arteries crack more easily than flexible ones.
(Just think why kids with flexible bones and muscles very seldom break a bone while older people with stronger but harder bones and muscles break more easily).
After a short period of overload the arteries begin to crack. Just like water pipes. But with the amazing reaper function your body has, it immediately sends out road warriors to fill up the cracks. One of them is cholesterol that creates a temporary bandage to save the arteries from exploding. If all is right, the arteries then begin healing and little by little the cholesterol is absorbed and no permanent damage, except for small scars, is done. When, however, high blood pressure is long lasting and chronic, the healing process of the arteries can’t keep up with the bandaging and cholesterol builds up… and up and up.
Now the arteries are not just hardened but also half blocked by cholesterol build up. And again this affects EVERY artery in the body, not just the heart arteries.
At this point I think you’ve drawn the conclusion of how this causes lack of blood flow through the arteries in the penis. Remember that these arteries are very small and therefore vulnerable to any trouble.
But it’s not just the arteries in the penis itself that contribute to ED. There are several arteries that deliver blood into the lower part of the body (including the penis) and if they’re restricted, you’re going to be negatively affected. Just think if your body has to make the decision between delivering blood into the legs to be able to walk or the penis to be able to make love, the body’s decision will be to deliver blood to the most critical areas first (and I’m not talking about the conscious brain that no doubt would choose the penis).
If this was the rest of the story, drugs like Viagra would work for pretty much everyone. In fact, Viagra was first developed as high blood pressure drug to widen the arteries. But in addition to cause serious side effects, Viagra only works for around 40% of men.
Because there is another aspect. You see, almost all cases of high blood pressure are caused by some level of stress. It can be emotional or physical but in all cases it’s stress that causes your body to pump more blood and greater pressure than normally is needed. This is triggered by the well-known fight or flight stress response.
One of the first and most obvious symptoms of any kind of stress is tension in the muscles. And this is as true for the skeletal muscles as well as the smooth muscle in the penis. And since erection only happens if the smooth muscles relax, stress is obviously going to be a great factor. I don’t think a man exists that hasn’t experienced a lack of sexual performance when going through stressful events.
When stressed, especially when experiencing long-term stress that causes high blood pressure, the nervous system is all over the place. And the penis is simply not going to get direct the electronic messages to get an erection. This can also be caused by any kind of injury that restricts clear neurotransmitter signals, such as neck or back pain.
Finally there is the testosterone issue. It’s well recorded that men with high blood pressure have significantly less testosterone level on the average. Low testosterone levels obviously leads to ED and lower libido. Many doctors now prescribe testosterone supplements as ED treatment but the results are very limited since testosterone supplements don’t function the same way in the body as naturally produced testosterone.
Low testosterone levels can also cause obesity, reduce muscle mass, create depression symptoms and many chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and more. Low testosterone is especially serious because the complications associated with it also lead to continued low testosterone and erectile dysfunction.
And what is the main cause of low testosterone? Stress!
Yes, stress is really the source of all evil. Studies have shown that men with high cortisol (stress hormone) levels also had lower levels of testosterone. Not only that, testing cortisol and testosterone throughout the 24 hours, they found as one went up and down, so did the other.
Finally, our lifestyle choices that cause high blood pressure, such as smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet also contribute to both erectile dysfunction and high blood pressure. In fact, everything that’s good for heart health is also good for sexual health.
Throughout the years I’ve received comments from hundreds of men who suffered both high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction. After using my high blood pressure program, not only did their blood pressure go down, their sexual function drastically improved – or even completely healed – as well. You can learn about these amazingly effective blood pressure exercises here…
However, the most effective method I’ve come across for erectile dysfunction is the Erectile Mastery Program that includes simple exercises that help quickly and permanently heal erectile dysfunction in the privacy of your home. You can learn more about the Erectile Mastery Program here…
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