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Addressing Erectile Dysfunction

It’s a common problem for men that often go unaddressed with their doctor. Health experts say erectile dysfunction is actually a symptom to a more serious health condition.

Dr. Alejandro Mianda-Sousa, a urologist on staff at Lee Memorial Health System, says many patients who suffer from erectile dysfunction could be at a higher risk for having a heart attack. “There are studies that show that the erection will be effected three to five years before the heart.”

In fact, he says many patients who suffer from erectile dysfunction have already had a heart attack. In many cases the patient may also have high blood pressure, diabetes, be overweight, or smoke. “Everything that affects the blood vessels will affect the erection. Things like diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, medications, smoking, and alcohol. All of those issues will affect any blood vessel in the body. But because blood vessels in the penis are usually smaller they are affected earlier,” said Dr. Miranda-Sousa.

The biggest obstacle is getting patients to address the problem. “This should be talked about and not just saying it’s a part of aging and just settle for this,” said Dr. Miranda-Sousa.

If something like hypertension, cholesterol, or diabetes is causing the blocked blood vessels, it could later cause blockages in other arteries. “We need to check your cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar. A lot of times we uncover that these are not being controlled,” said Dr. Miranda-Sousa.

Other times, he says the solution could be as simple as stopping or changing a medication. Once the cause is found, they can typically treat the symptom.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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