You’ve undoubtedly had a blood pressure reading at virtually every doctor’s visit in memory. There’s good reason for this. As it is scientifically known, hypertension is among the most common metabolic diseases affecting American adults. It occurs when the pressure of the blood flowing through the arteries is elevated, pushing against the arterial walls. When caught and managed early, treatment can slow or prevent the onset of severe cardiovascular diseases. But you’ll probably notice that your blood pressure reading differs within a few days or even over the course of the same day. This is perfectly normal. We all have fluctuations in blood pressure caused by emotions, hormonal surges, physical exercise, or stress.
Further, it’s important to remember that the reading taken at your doctor’s office is probably somewhat, if not significantly, different from what you would see when relaxing at home.
Erectile Dysfunction, or ED, is right up there alongside heart disease, striking fear into the hearts of men everywhere. In fact, ED affects more people each year as our population gets older and our diets and lifestyles get decidedly less healthy. But let’s talk about ED and how it can possibly be a warning sign of future coronary artery disease.
To start, we must understand more about the blood vessels in the body. The blood transport mechanism is an unbelievably complex series of progressively smaller blood vessels that deliver critical oxygen to every cell in the body. You can imagine, therefore, that when blood flow is slowed or interrupted, the result is not good. When we talk about ED, we now know that the problem is primarily vascular in middle-aged and older men, and the mental health concerns that we once blamed it on don’t seem to play as big a role as we once thought. In fact, it’s widely accepted that if patients experience erectile dysfunction in their middle age or older, they are likely to have a cardiovascular concern or, at the very least, a heightened risk for future heart problems.
Coronary artery disease, or CAD, is one of the most common cardiovascular diseases in the world and involves the arteries that transport oxygen-rich blood around the entire body. These incredible delivery vehicles constantly expand and contract, 24 hours a day, to ensure that blood reaches its destinations around the body efficiently. However, as we age, and are largely dependent on our dietary and lifestyle choices, these arteries can begin accumulating plaque deposits. The arteries become progressively narrower, and less blood can reach its destination, the heart. The result significantly increases the risk of a deadly heart attack. When this occlusion happens in the extremities, it is known as peripheral artery disease (PAD). It can cause significant problems in the arms and legs, including, if left untreated, amputation of the affected limb.
Heart disease is a common concern for people of all genders, shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. Some factors for heart disease can be controlled, like daily habits, dietary choices, and exercise habits. Others, like genetics and family history, pose a risk that cannot be altered. Most importantly, everyone should know their risk of heart disease and speak to their doctor about appropriate screening now and in the future.