Health News of Thursday, 12 July 2012
An extremely common reason why a man with hypertension may not take his medication is a fear of having problems with satisfying sex most probably from achieving and maintaining an erection. Certainly this problem exists but may be overblown especially when one is dealing with newer blood pressure medications. If you do not control your blood pressure you also stand the risk of getting the same problems with erections and even more devastating life-changing conditions such as a stroke may be knocking at your door.
It is easy to see a link between high blood pressure and sexual problems in men but in the case of women it may not be that obvious but there may be an association as well. Humans crave for sex, love and politics and so it is not surprising that we often throw caution and good judgement to the wind when a situation concerns any of these.
Hypertension like many other chronic diseases has a way of suppressing our sexual drive. Some people will experience this dip in libido because of the fear of the disease and others probably from hear-say. It is amazing how much “tainted” information we get from our friends and colleagues about a health condition rather than seeking help from our healthcare professional. Everyone seems to be an authority in politics, love and sex and very soon professionals in these areas will have to close shop and look for other jobs.
Over time high blood pressure damages the lining of blood vessels and causes arteries to narrow and harden limiting blood flow to the penis. In some men this decrease in blood flow makes it difficult to achieve and maintain an erection. This is common in “untreated” high blood pressure. So dear reader, if you were running away from the risk of erectile dysfunction from taking your blood pressure pills, then here you go, you may still suffer from your fear even without medication and worse still you are open to more complications. Talk to your doctor and reach a healthy compromise. Do not wait to experience a problem with erection before taking your medication since even a single episode of erectile dysfunction can ring panic bells setting the stage for more such episodes and eventually a loss of interest in sexual activity.
Though not proven it is believed that uncontrolled high blood pressure may also affect women by reducing blood flow to the vagina leading to a decrease in sexual desire, vaginal dryness or difficulty achieving orgasm. Ladies talk to your doctor if you have high blood pressure and also experience some of these symptoms. Note that there may be other causes.
A CASE FOR BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATIONS
It is no secret that certain blood pressure medications may cause erectile problems but remember to discuss your fears with your doctor before you step out of the consulting room. Also do not become an overnight prescriber; if you need to refill your medications go back to your doctor instead of buying on your own. You may not recognize an impending danger soon enough. It is also important to take your medications as prescribed.
In 2012, science has certainly made great strides and many medications exist that have a very low risk of causing erectile challenges. In the event that it even occurs, there are professionals who can help, as well as medications to combat these effects. It is important to stay alive and well so take your well negotiated medication.
LIFE STYLE CHANGES TO THE RESCUE
Adopting a regular healthy lifestyle can lower your blood pressure (continue your medication if you are on any), make you stronger, boost your image and drive your libido. Thirty minutes a day for at least five days a week may be all that you need to enjoy the things you like in life.
Adopt these lifestyle changes:
1. Do not smoke. Minimize or avoid alcohol
2. Work towards an ideal weight for your height. Start losing fat today.
3. Reduce the salt content of your food
4. Eat less oils
5. Minimize sugar intake
6. Eat more fruits, vegetables and some nuts.
7. Exercise regularly
a. Walk, jog, swim, use a treadmill or elliptical to strengthen your heart. A strong heart can pump blood better to even distal areas of the body.
b. Do some weight training, it can boost your testosterone and confidence and that certainly is a good thing.
i. Squats and lounges, which exercise your thighs score high marks since they help to increase blood flow to the pelvic region and extremities of the body.
8. If you have any medical condition, work with your doctor to control or treat the condition.
So if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or other lifestyle diseases that tend to cause similar problems, this is no time to demonize medication. Talk to a PROFESSIONAL. Take medication where necessary and make the appropriate lifestyle modifications.
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Moms’ Health Club
*Dr Essel is a medical doctor and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.
Thought for the week –“High blood pressure often has no symptoms but the impact on your sex life may be obvious.”
1. High Blood Pressure and Sex: Overcome the Challenges – Mayo clinic