sad man and woman - conflict of an elderly couple on the bed in the bedroom

What causes impotence when you get older? And what can you do about it?

Impotence can strike at any age, but it is more common in older men. Understanding why is one of the best ways to avoid or treat it.

While the obvious answer may paint the issue as an inevitable fact of life—the process of aging dooming your sex life—it’s not as clear cut as that. Younger men can suffer from erectile dysfunction too, and not all older men experience ED.

The causes—and so solutions—to ED vary dramatically, and not all are age-dependent.

Worried Senior Man Sits On Bed Whilst Wife Sleeps

What is the Average Age of Impotence?

Given what we just said, this may seem like an odd question to follow, but it is true that the probability of impotence increases as you age. A study done in 2003 by the Harvard School of Health found that:

  • Only 2 percent of men experience ED before age 40
  • 4 percent between 40 and 49
  • 26 percent between 50 and 59
  • 40 percent between 60 and 69

As you can see, the big jump occurs at 50, but even at age 69, the halfway point hasn’t been reached. Granted, this was only one study. Many sources consider the rate of ED to increase by 10 percent each decade of a man’s life, which again, puts 50 as the turning point, or average.

Note that this is a factor of probability, not certainty. This same study also found that lifestyle-related factors such as activity level and diet did reduce the frequency of impotence in older men.

For example, a mere three hours of exercise a week decreased the chances of ED 30 percent. Those who were overweight, smoked, or led a sedentary lifestyle had the highest risk regardless of age.

What Causes Impotence in Men Over 50?

There are six leading causes of erectile dysfunction: endocrinological, vasculogenic, neurogenic, psychogenic, drug-induced, and illnesses. Let’s look at these in more depth—and more importantly— what can be done to prevent them.

The decline of Testosterone with Age – Endocrinological Erectile Dysfunction

Testosterone production is naturally reduced as we grow older. The cause of endocrinological erectile dysfunction is a lack of hormones such as androgens and testosterone that regulate Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5-I). NOS and PDE5-I are necessary for a proper erection.

PDE5-I and NOS rise and fall according to testosterone levels in the body. As aging occurs, testosterone levels continue to decrease, and with it these two enzymes. This decrease in hormones is what makes it difficult for you to get an erection.

With your testosterone levels going down, your capacity to sustain an erection declines—but this doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything to keep it from happening.

There are many ways to boost your testosterone levels, such as exercise, balanced caloric intake and nutrition, supplements, and even just getting more sleep. As a bonus, many of these options also improve your health overall.

Exhausted elderly male with gray hair and beard drinking water after outdoor exercise and wiping sweat with towel around his neck

Hardening of the Arteries – Vasculogenic Erectile Dysfunction

Poor cardiovascular health is one of the most common causes of impotence in men over 50. This phenomenon, known as atherosclerosis, is the hardening of the arteries making the lining less flexible, and thus, keeping them from expanding as easily as they did when you were younger.

Plaque build-up on the walls of the arteries further complicates this issue, as it restricts the amount of blood flow even further.

When blood vessels fail to expand properly, and plaque build-up limits the amount of blood that can flow through your arteries, blood flow becomes restricted and not enough of it can travel to areas where blood is needed. In the case of ED, without proper blood flow, an erection can’t occur.

Atherosclerosis is very common among men over 50. It is the leading cause of impotence in men over 50, accounting for almost half of all cases of erectile dysfunction at this age. Unfortunately, erectile dysfunction is the least of your worries when it comes to atherosclerosis as it is also the leading cause of heart disease.

A study conducted by the American Medical Association in 2005 indicated that erectile dysfunction is a significant predictor of heart disease. The five-year study found that 57 percent of the participants, roughly 2,400 men aged 55 and above, had developed ED.

The men who developed ED were at a greater risk of a cardiac event or a heart attack. Men with ED are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease compared to men without ED.

doctor giving an injection to a banana

Nerve Function Decline – Neurogenic Erectile Dysfunction (NED)

Neurological diseases affect how nerves function, which in turn results in faulty signals or even lack of messages sent to the brain. Without these signals, you are unable to receive signals of the sensation that causes erections, and your body is not able to respond.

Such diseases include, but are not limited to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, and spinal cord injury.

Psychological Issues – Psychogenic Erectile Dysfunction (PED)

The causes of PED include psychological issues such as performance anxiety or fear of failure. Stress and anxiety are also the leading causes of PED.

Your inability to focus, or problems that are on your mind, keep you from getting an erection even if you are not actively thinking about them. Some of the theoretical causes of PED are developmental, affective, and interpersonal factors.

Drug-induced Erectile Dysfunction

Drugs, whether prescribed or illicit, have side effects, and among them may be erectile dysfunction. Psychotropic drugs such as anti-depressants can lower your response to stimuli or blood pressure and increases the chances of ED.

A man smokes a joint. Medical marijuana use and legalization of the cannabis

How Should Men Over 50 Treat Impotence?

Again, the probability of impotence does increase with age. However, this does not mean that you have to be passive and accept that it will happen—or is happening. There’s a lot you can do to stave off impotence.

Exercise and Diet

Diabetes, hypertension, and vascular problems are critical factors in aggravating erectile dysfunction. I wish we could say you won’t get these diseases, but the reality is, today’s modern man is at a high risk of developing all the above during their lifetime.

Diabetes comes in two flavors: Type I diabetes, the type that manifests from early childhood, and Type II diabetes, which tends to appear during adult life.

Those who are suffering from Type I diabetes usually become insulin-dependent at an early age, while those with Type II diabetes can sometimes make use of treatments that do not involve injecting insulin into the bloodstream.

For both types of diabetes suffers, it is possible to mitigate or aggravate the condition based on your lifestyle choices. Overeating sugar or starch and not getting enough exercise will have the effect of making a person even more insulin resistant and more insulin will be required to give the same life-saving effect.

Obesity has a strong correlation with diabetes, so getting exercise and avoiding overeating to keep your weight under control will help you avoid erectile dysfunction as long as possible.

Go ahead and look for other methods to help you mitigate diabetes or, if you don’t have Type I, prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Hypertension and vascular problems are both associated with lifestyle. Obesity, a stressful work environment, and lack of exercise are all known to increase the risk of hypertension.

Smoking cigarettes is another lifestyle choice that can increase the risk of hypertension because it contributes to the hardening of the arteries.

All these factors seem to be a significant source of erectile dysfunction. Obese people have a risk of diabetes, hypertension, and arterial hardening. So, if you are overweight, there is a near definite chance that you will end up with erectile dysfunction at an early age.

For all the conditions we outlined, it seems they all have a common denominator; eat right, eat moderately, and exercise regularly. In other words, a healthy lifestyle is one of the essential ingredients in preventing erectile dysfunction.

Smiling young man running in the park during summer

Viagra

Viagra, generic name Sildenafil, was the first medication designed to treat erectile dysfunction to enter the market. It is an oral medication which is designed to work by blocking phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5), this is the enzyme that regulates blood flow in the penis. Too much of PDE5 prevents sexual arousal. It also causes the dilation of blood vessels in the lungs.

Viagra does come with several side-effects such as headaches, heartburn, and flushed skin. People with cardiovascular disease should not take this drug. Some report that they suffer from prolonged erection, vision problems, and hearing loss. Viagra is not something that you should take lightly, and this is why Viagra is a prescription drug.

Viasil

Viasil acts by increasing nitric oxide production in the body, helping your muscles, organs, and more importantly, the penis, receive more blood, helping you become more active in the bedroom. This all-natural supplement increases the available energy that powers your body and increases stamina naturally and dramatically.

Natural ingredients in the drug improve ATP and ADP systems that contribute to more nitric oxide in your body, improving your sexual performance. No longer will you need to be filled with anxiety and doubt when you go into the bedroom with your partner.

Unlike synthetic drugs that trigger abnormal and short-lived chemical reactions, Viasil boosts the natural energy in your body in the form ATP and ADP, creating a response that increases the available nitric oxide in the body without any side effects.

Moreover, these energy systems are enhanced even in the presence of free radicals, stressors, illnesses, and the damage caused by aging. Hence, you don’t have to worry about adverse side effects. Using the organic formulation, you improve your stamina and the blood flow. With Viasil in hand, you have an excellent all-natural sex drive enhancer.

Happy man showing medicine pill

When in Doubt Speak to Your Doctor

We don’t claim to be offering the advice of a medical professional. No amount of advice and research we do can ever replace the expertise of a trained healthcare provider. We recommend that you approach a professional about your erectile dysfunction, especially if you are a man of advanced age.

A consultation is of prime importance when dealing with any health condition. While consulting for ED may sound foolish to some people, remember what we discussed earlier, men with ED are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Consulting your doctor is not just about ED. It’s about your overall health and getting ahead of any life-threatening diseases that might be coming your way.

More importantly, don’t try any new synthetic drugs or treatments until you’ve consulted a doctor, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions. The last thing that anyone wants is to take erection pills and end up in the hospital the following day due to dizziness or worse, a heart attack.

As much as you want to improve your sex life or please your sex partner tonight, it is not worth risking your life over! Many of the so-called ‘cures’ out there are dangerous.

Take Steps to Healthier Life

Age-related erectile dysfunction is challenging to deal with, and while it is tempting to take synthetic drugs to get your motor running for one day, it’s only a stop-gap measure. You can opt to try therapies with the approval of your doctor, but it can be quite expensive in the long run, and they are not always effective.

The best and most responsible solution is a lifestyle change consisting of proper diet, supplementation, stress relief measures, and regular exercise. While the effects of a lifestyle change may take longer to take effect, it is a long-lasting solution if done right.

You can never go wrong with choosing the natural and organic way of improving your body, and if the research is right, you can satisfy your partner well into your later years, if you keep yourself healthy.

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