For the first time, a team of researchers has found a specific place in the human genome that raises a person’s risk of erectile dysfunction. According to science daily the discovery is a significant advancement in the understanding of the genetics underlying erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction, the inability to obtain and maintain an erection sufficient for sexual activity, is a common and costly condition of men of primarily middle and older ages. The disease is linked to many causes, such as neurological, hormonal and vascular factors. Therapies based on these factors exist, but many men don’t respond to them.
Genetics also are suspected as a factor in about one-third of erectile dysfunction cases, but researchers have failed to make an association with any specific genomic locations until now. The new study found that variations in a specific place in the genome — called a genetic locus — near the SIM1 gene are significantly associated with an increased risk of erectile dysfunction.
The researchers ruled out that the risk was due to other known risk factors for erectile dysfunction, such as body mass index, or differences in how men describe their erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction has been difficult to study in part because of the differences in how patients report their symptoms.
To overcome this challenge, the study looked to see whether the SIM1 locus was a risk factor when considering differences in how men reported their erectile dysfunction to their doctors. The study found that this location was indeed a risk factor for erectile dysfunction, whether the disorder was defined through clinical diagnoses, prescriptions history, or study participant self-patient.
Erectile dysfunctions and life style
You may be surprised to learn that a lot of the things we know aren’t good for your health can also affect your ability to get or keep an erection.
- Smoking : It increases your risk of hardening of the arteries. This reduces blood flow to the penis. It’s that blood flow that helps you get an erection.
- Being overweight : Carrying extra pounds increases your risk of blood vessel disease, a cause of ED.
- Inactive lifestyle : If you want to reduce your chance of getting ED, get off the couch. Regular exercise can help to make sure that when the time comes, you’re ready.
- Poorly managed diabetes : Diabetes can affect blood flow to your penis. Maintain a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and take your medicine as prescribed.
- High cholesterol : It can damage the linings of blood vessels, including those in the penis. It can also affect the arteries leading to your genitals. Eat right, exercise regularly, and take your meds.
- Alcohol : If you have more than two drinks a day, you could be hurting your ability to get an erection. Alcohol restricts blood flow to the penis and can hinder production of testosterone. Low testosterone can affect not only your performance, but your desire, too.
- Illegal drug use : Marijuana, cocaine, and other recreational drugs can cause ED by damaging blood vessels. They can also restrict blood flow to the penis.
- Stress and anxiety : These are leading causes of temporary ED. If your mind’s too occupied, it’s hard to relax enough to be “in the mood”