Sexual Health Q&A

Q&A
Erectile Dysfunction
Is high blood pressure related to erectile dysfunction (ED)?

It can be. Firm erections depend on good blood flow to the penis.  High blood pressure can impair that blood flow.

Blood pressure refers to the amount of force – or pressure – that blood exerts on artery walls as it travels through the body. When blood pressure is high, the artery walls take on more force. 

High blood pressure – also called hypertension - can cause damage to the artery walls, raising a person’s risk for plaque buildup and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).  This can happen anywhere in the body.

When it happens in the penis, there might not be enough blood to form an erection.

Medications prescribed to manage high blood pressure, like diuretics and beta-blockers, have been associated with erectile dysfunction as well.  Sometimes, a change in medication is all that is needed for erections to improve.

A man’s doctor can help him decide whether a change in medication is necessary. Some drugs are less likely to cause ED than others, but a doctor can provide the best personal advice.

People with high blood pressure don’t always know they have it.  Fortunately, measuring blood pressure is a quick, simple, routine test that can be done a doctor’s office or clinic.

Men are encouraged to consider blood pressure when making lifestyle choices.  Eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol and salt, quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and losing excess weight are all good decisions when it comes to blood pressure and overall health.  It’s also important to manage stress effectively.

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