Listening to Tweety: Erectile Dysfunction Warns of Medical Problems

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Dr. Myrtle,

My husband is a very healthy man with erectile dysfunction treated by sildenafil (Viagra). I don’t really understand why this is occurs. Is it a problem for him to take sildenafil repeatedly?


Erectile dysfunction (ED) is very common.

One of every two men between the age of 40-70 years finds it difficult to obtain an erection or maintain an erection long enough for sexual satisfaction. What is less known is that ED is actually a signal that he should have a complete medical evaluation for underlying conditions that do not yet have symptoms.

ED is linked to heart disease and metabolic disorders.

ED is also linked to conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity and depression. The reason may be that ED shares common risk factors: "Steak & potatoes"-type diets, smoking, & low-exercise habits all are known risk factors for heart and vessel disease, metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance), and Type 2 diabetes.

Just Like Canaries, Erectile Dysfunction Is An Early Warning System

Remember the warning system miners used to detect lethal gas in the mines? Miners carried canaries with them down into the shaft. If “Tweety” died, the miners knew they needed get out of the mine, because a dead canary was a warning that they could die of asphyxiation.

It turns out that “Tweety” and ED have something more in common than shafts: ED is an early warning system for other serious medical problems.

  • ED occurs an average of 3 years prior to the onset of symptoms of these disorders. Recognizing ED as a warning could save lives.
  • Some medical professionals use the term “ED” not just to signify “Erectile Dysfunction”, but also as an indicator of “Early Death”.

Your partner’s erectile dysfunction may be a warning that he has other health conditions that are currently in early, asymptomatic stages. Men often don’t go to health care providers until they have some persistent annoying symptoms, but his erectile dysfunction may be just the warning he needs to take his health more seriously.

Take Care of Tweety

There are some things that your partner needs to consider before this ED turns into something more serious.

  • Exercise. The more time a man spends moderately exercising, the less problem he has with ED. Exercise not only improves all of the risk factors for heart disease and metabolic syndrome, but it dramatically improves erectile function.
  • Don’t eat white food. Whole, unprocessed foods provide better metabolic control. Better metabolic balance means a happier Tweety.
  • “You puff Mister, and the canary is history!” Stop Smoking!!! Smoking doubles the risk of ED.
  • Learn what Tweety likes! Learning about personally successful arousal techniques puts you in control of what works for your sexual arousal. The more erections you cause, the more you’re getting good blood circulation to the nerves of the penis. No one is like “they used to be”, but you can know what you like now.

Sildenafil is a good thing, if your health care provider thinks you’re a good candidate.

If your partner’s health care provider prescribes it (thinks he’s a good candidate), sildenafil is a very good medication for men with erectile dysfunction, because it increases the blood circulation to the nerves that were damaged. Taking sildenafil routinely supports this circulation, too, and the more that the blood flow occurs, the better for his body.

Sildenafil was originally developed to lower blood pressure and help heart vessel circulation. Studies have shown that men with diabetes/metabolic syndrome, depression and stable hypertension and heart disease benefit from regular use of sildenafil. Feel good about him taking it, because it helps some of the underlying problem.

Take Care,

Dr. Myrtle

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