What underlying medical conditions or disorders are most likely to lead to ED?
Men with certain underlying medical conditions face a significantly higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Cardiovascular disease, which includes atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque on the inner wall of arteries, is perhaps the most closely connected to ED. Also closely related to the cardiovascular disease is high blood pressure, a condition characterized by reduced blood flow due to constricted arteries. However, a number of other diseases and disorders can put a man on the fast track to ED.
Diabetes, a disease in which the body is unable to produce or respond to insulin naturally, takes a serious toll on both blood vessels and the nervous system, both of which play a key role in erectile function.
Although the connection might seem very tenuous, obstructive sleep apnea is also likely to increase a man’s risk of ED. In OSA, the tissue at the back of the throat collapses, blocking the airway. This leads to a start-stop pattern in breathing, which in turn makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
Although the link between OSA and impotence is not fully understood, some medical scientists have theorized that insufficient sleep decreases the body’s production of testosterone, leading to a decrease in the sex drive and difficulty in getting an erection.