High Cholesterol affects 42 million people in the United States and is one of the leading causes of erectile dysfunction in men. Due to its lack of overt symptoms, many men do not realize they have high cholesterol until after going to see a doctor about erectile problems.

Defined as the inability to achieve and/or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse, erectile dysfunction (ED) will affect 1 in 3 men to some degree during the course of their lives. Although erectile dysfunction is often associated with older men, ED is now commonly found in a younger population as the overall prevalence of high cholesterol erectile dysfunction increases.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that appears naturally in the body in cell membranes, muscles, the heart, and the liver. It is necessary for your body’s normal function and is used to produce hormones and vitamin D, and is also vital in the digestion of fats. If your cholesterol levels are too high though, it can build up in the arteries, limiting blood flow throughout the body, and eventually lead to blockages and heart disease. Foods that contain high levels of cholesterol include: eggs, ice cream, organ meats (kidneys, brain), beef, poultry and palm oil, among others. 

High cholesterol is a silent disease, often without noticeable symptoms. The first manifestation of high cholesterol in many males is a problem achieving and/or maintaining an erection. High cholesterol can narrow or block arteries necessary for vital blood flow to the penis and can also cause nerve damage resulting in erectile dysfunction and, if not treated properly, impotence. High cholesterol impotence affects men of all ages and should be treated immediately for general health, as well as sexual health.

Erectile dysfunction can lead to more problems than just those experienced in the bedroom. It’s a direct cause of many psychological problems such as poor motivation, feelings of failure, denial and decreased self-esteem and can even lead to depression. If untreated, ED can also affect personal relationships, family life and business relationships.

Because health conditions can manifest themselves in multiple ways in the body, like high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction, it is important to talk with your physician about all of your health concerns.  The more time that cholesterol has to build up in the body, the more irreversible its effects can become.