It is well established that men who regularly consume alcohol or use illegal drugs are at a greater risk of developing erectile dysfunction. But what about those who suffer from erectile dysfunction but do not fit the stereotype?

In one study, men who were less than 40 years old and had erectile dysfunction were asked to take part in a survey on drug use. Of the total sample of 449 men, 70% reported some sort of recreational drug use and 22% reported alcohol consumption. Yet, despite their increased risk of erectile dysfunction, only 16% reported using prescribed medications to treat their erectile dysfunction.

The findings of this study suggest that there are several factors that contribute to the increasing rates of men who have or are at risk of developing erectile dysfunction but do not consume alcohol or use illegal drugs. These men may be more likely to experience decreased medication adherence and increased risk of adverse drug events.

Risk Factors For Erectile Dysfunction

As mentioned above, erectile dysfunction was more likely to be reported among men who used recreational drugs or alcohol. But what are the specific risk factors for this common condition?

The American Academy of Family Physicians (2) identifies the following as potential risk factors for developing erectile dysfunction:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Heredity
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic stress
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Medication non-adherence

In another study, the investigators found that older age, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease were positively associated with erectile dysfunction. In addition, this study noted that men with erectile dysfunction were significantly more likely to be obese and have alcohol problems. (3)

How Common Is It?

How often does erectile dysfunction occur? About 30 million American men suffer from this common condition. Of those men, about 85% report that their erection problems are moderate to severe. (4)

Erectile Dysfunction is a serious problem for men. In fact, if you are having or have had problems with erections, you are likely to experience significant distress and may even require assistance from a physician. It is important to note that although medication can help, there are also non-pharmacological options for treatment. For example, exercise and a healthy diet can help to improve blood flow to the penis and therefore may help to get or keep an erection firm and healthy.

When Should You Seek Help?

If you are wondering when to seek help for erectile dysfunction, here are some general guidelines to follow.

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