Statistics show that at least 5 percent of American men develop complete erectile dysfunction (ED). That percentage rises as they get older. By the time they reach their fifties, about half will be diagnosed with ED.
For many males, ED isn’t only a urological issue. A previous study revealed that only 25 percent of men with symptoms received treatment. The reasons can vary from embarrassment to the cost of medications.
However, men actually have several management options including Gainswave ED treatment, which can be prescribed as is or in conjunction with medications. Moreover, they have one more motivation to seek help now: COVID-19.
The ED Effect of COVID-19
More than a year since the World Health Organization called it the COVID-19 pandemic, and researchers are beginning to understand the risk factors and potential health impact of the infection.
For example, several studies already suggest that conditions like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes can increase the risk of developing severe COVID. Meanwhile, the University of Oxford discovered that 1 in 3 survivors may develop or show signs of neurological problems, such as anxiety and even brain inflammation.
Then there’s the research published in Andrology on March 20. According to it, men with ED are at least five times more likely to get the infection. If that isn’t enough, catching COVID can also lead to ED, with the odds as high as 5.66.
Granted, the research is still preliminary and involved only a small sample size. However, the data isn’t also something one can ignore, especially since the reasons are both logical and plausible.
While many factors may explain the association between COVID and ED, there’s one that links all of them: obesity.
Obesity, ED, and COVID
A 2008 study described comprehensively the relationship between ED and obesity, particularly central or abdominal obesity. It revealed that this metabolic condition could boost the odds of being diagnosed with ED between 30 and 90 percent.
The risks increase as the body mass index rises. In other words, the more overweight or obese men are, the more likely they will develop ED even before they reach the age of 50.
This is because obesity is one of the major risk factors for a variety of chronic diseases. These can include insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
The fats that build up around the waist and hips are different from the ones found underneath the skin. These often affect the body metabolically by secreting mimicking hormones, leading to hormone imbalance. They can also squeeze in the surrounding organs, making them less efficient.
Worse, obesity can increase the risk of low-grade but chronic inflammation. Tissues, such as those surrounding the heart, can then experience oxidative stress and, later, DNA damage.
In fact, in a 2017 study, ED may be a possible indicator of the man’s susceptibility to developing or the presence of cardiovascular disease.
Obesity also increases the risks of hypertension and high bad cholesterol, both of which are also associated with cardiovascular disease.
A heart disorder, meanwhile, can impact the way the blood flows all over the body. The supply to the penile area may decrease that the person cannot sustain or achieve an erection.
Further, carrying excess weight may worsen a person’s odds of having diabetes through insulin resistance. In a 2006 study in BMJ, men with a BMI of at least 35 were 42 times more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes even after adjusting for other factors like age and smoking.
Diabetes can affect the nerves in the long run. One of the possible consequences is neuropathy, wherein blood vessels slowly experience damage that can cause problems with blood flow toward the penis.
Studies also showed that people with diabetes are also more likely to have other metabolic conditions, such as high cholesterol, hypertension, and heart disease.
With regard to COVID, all these are major risk factors for both catching the condition and developing a severe infection.
In a systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers shared that obesity might be even an independent risk factor. That means being massively overweight alone can already raise the chances of having severe COVID.
How Obese Men with ED Can Protect Themselves
The best step is to lose weight, but because it is also urgent that ED is treated as soon as possible, they may need to work closely with an expert now.
Healthcare professionals also strongly advise obese men with ED to get a vaccination if they can. While no vaccine can guarantee they will not catch the infection, the risks of the disease becoming severe significantly decline.