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Erectile Dysfunction Prevalence Increases with Age

Synopsis: Study finds erectile dysfunction (ED) is common among older men and increases with age, and men who were physically active had a lower prevalence for ED.1

Author: Harvard School of Public Health2 Contact: rherman@hsph.harvard.edu

Published: 2015-03-13 Updated: 2021-01-12

Key Points:

ED was also more prevalent in men with diabetes, previous stroke, or among those who reported use of anti-depressants or beta-blockers.

During the late 16th and 17th centuries in France, male impotence was considered a crime, as well as legal grounds for a divorce.

Main Digest

In the first large-scale study to assess age and erectile function, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that erectile dysfunction (ED) is common among older men and increases with age. They also found that men who were physically active and stayed lean had a lower prevalence for ED.

ED, or impotence, is sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual activity. A penile erection is the hydraulic effect of blood entering and being retained in sponge-like bodies within the penis. The process is most often initiated as a result of sexual arousal, when signals are transmitted from the brain to nerves in the penis.

The researchers assessed the sexual function of 31,742 men between the ages of 53 and 90, who were enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (www.hsph.harvard.edu/hpfs/) and had responded to a questionnaire mailed in 2000 that, among other questions related to health, asked about sexual function, physical activity, body weight, smoking and marital status. Men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer were excluded from the findings.

"The research shows that men who maintain an active lifestyle into their later years, who keep off extra weight, drink alcohol moderately, don't smoke and avoid sedentary behavior like watching a lot of TV, maintain healthy sexual function into their 50's, 60's and 70's," said Eric Rimm, senior author of the study and an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. He added,

"By avoiding the classic risk factors for cardiovascular disease, men can help maintain better sexual function and live longer."

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Facts

2Source/Reference: Harvard School of Public Health (rherman@hsph.harvard.edu). Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

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Cite Page: Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: Harvard School of Public Health. Electronic Publication Date: 2015-03-13. Last Revised Date: 2021-01-12. Reference Title: Erectile Dysfunction Prevalence Increases with Age, Source: <a href=https://www.disabled-world.com/health/male/impotence/ed-age.php>Erectile Dysfunction Prevalence Increases with Age</a>. Abstract: Study finds erectile dysfunction (ED) is common among older men and increases with age, and men who were physically active had a lower prevalence for ED. Retrieved 2021-02-28, from https://www.disabled-world.com/health/male/impotence/ed-age.php - Reference Category Number: DW#336-11328.