The erectile dysfunction age can encompass several different conditions of reproductive health and sexual dysfunction. It is a very common condition but is also a very emotional and sensitive topic to discuss. Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Achieving an erection is a complex process involving the brain, hormones, nerves, muscles, and blood circulation. If something interferes with this process, the result may be erectile dysfunction. In some cases, erectile dysfunction is the first sign of other serious underlying health conditions, such as cardiovascular problems, that need treatment because erectile dysfunction can share the same risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.

How common is Erectile Dysfunction?

About 5 percent of men that are 40 years old have complete erectile dysfunction, and that number increases to about 15 percent of men at age 70. Mild and moderate erectile dysfunction affects approximately 10 percent of men per decade of life (i.e., 50 percent of men in their 50s, 60 percent of men in their 60s). The erectile dysfunction age can occur at any age, but it is more common in older men. Older men are more likely to have health conditions that require medication, which can interfere with erectile function. Additionally, as men age, they may need more stimulation to get an erection and more time between erections.

Three Components of Male Sexual Function

There are three essential components of male sexual function:

  • Interest and desire for sexual activity (libido)

  • The ability to obtain and maintain an erection

  • Ejaculation and climax (orgasm)

There are many physical causes of ED. Anyone of these can disrupt the sequence of physiological changes that produce an erection:

  • obesity

  • diabetes

  • heart disease

  • hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • high cholesterol

  • low testosterone

  • enlarged prostate

  • sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea

  • multiple sclerosis

  • Parkinson’s disease

The hormone testosterone affects a person’s sex drive and energy levels, which govern arousal impulses to the brain. Diabetes can also damage the nerves that signal increased blood flow to the genital area. According to the American Diabetes Association, a man with type 2 diabetes is twice as likely to have low testosterone compared to a man that doesn’t have diabetes. Alcohol slows nerve communications within the brain and throughout the body, which can affect arousal signals and physical coordination. Tobacco not only restricts blood flow but can lead to serious diseases that may further impair sexual function. Medications can also affect people differently. A drug that decreases sexual performance in one person might not in another. The risk for erectile dysfunction age because of naturally decreasing levels of testosterone. Still, testosterone and age aren’t the sole factors in achieving an erection. Most causes of ED aren’t directly related to age, but rather other underlying medical issues. Your doctor can determine the cause of ED with a blood test and physical and psychosocial exams. There may even be more than one underlying cause. Once the problem is properly identified, ED can be treated so you can lead a happier, healthier life.