Erectile Dysfunction Myths Debunked: 40% of Men Seeking Treatment Under 50; Healthy Living Offers Alternative Solution

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Recent research reveals that 40 percent of men who experience erectile dysfunction are aged 40 or under. Robert Drapkin, MD, FACP, asserts that standard drug therapies are not the sole solution; adopting a healthy lifestyle offers men of all ages an alternative way of dealing with this common problem.

“It’s important to address the causes of [erectile dysfunction], rather than accepting ironic marketing messages that state a medical approach is an acceptable alternative to a healthy lifestyle.

While popular belief portrays erectile dysfunction (ED) as a problem limited exclusively to the older generation, the latest research on the subject debunks this myth. In fact, an article published less than three weeks ago reported that "ED affects about 10 percent of men in each decade of life" - with 40 percent of men in their 40’s reporting erection problems. (1)

Despite the apparent prevalence of erection issues, ED rates in younger men have seldom been reviewed. An earlier pioneering study, published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, proved that men of any age can suffer the often devastating effects of ED. Researchers tested both sociodemographic and clinical differences between ED patients over 40 and those 40 and younger and linked ED to harmful lifestyle habits, finding that those under 40 smoked cigarettes and used illicit drugs more frequently. (2)

“Undoubtedly, a man’s overall health has a direct effect on sexual performance,” said Robert Drapkin, MD, board-certified physician in Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care.

Dr. Drapkin explained that understanding erectile dysfunction begins with knowing how the central and peripheral nervous systems, anatomy, emotions, hormones and blood flow all work together to create an erection. Sexual stimulation causes the release of chemicals that make the smooth muscles of the penis to relax and increase blood flow, which causes an erection. Once the chemicals are no longer released, the erection dissipates. “Any pathology along this process can cause problems relating to sexual health,” he said. “There are both emotional and physiological causes, but sexual performance problems are often a symptom of an unhealthy lifestyle.”

While commonly-prescribed pharmaceuticals such as Viagra are a popular approach to treating ED, Dr. Drapkin stresses that drugs are not the sole solution as erectile dysfunction "is very much the result of dietary patterns, and can be an early warning signal of more serious health risks such as heart attack or stroke, which are also diet- and lifestyle-related." (3) Dr. Drapkin attests that along with many healthcare providers, the general public is unaware of the components of a healthy lifestyle, as demonstrated by the current diabetes epidemic and overuse of many prescription medicines in the U.S. His view is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s estimate that 69% of adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese. (4)

To reduce the risk of developing erectile dysfunction, Dr. Drapkin recommends adopting a healthy lifestyle - including a vigorous exercise program - rather than solely relying on prescription medications such as Viagra which may help in treating erectile dysfunction along the way, but fail to address the need for the individual to improve their health.

“It’s important to address the causes of the issue, rather than accepting ironic marketing messages that state a medical approach is an acceptable alternative to a healthy lifestyle,” Dr. Drapkin added.

Dr. Drapkin’s decades of experience, research and study in the fields of diet and exercise have proven beneficial in helping patients treat and prevent an array of medical conditions. “If diet and exercise are not enough,” he stressed, “then the patient is likely not eating a healthy diet, nor exercising properly. One result—in men of all ages—is erectile dysfunction, which can be addressed or even prevented through a healthy lifestyle, proper nutrition and regular exercise.”

About Robert Drapkin, MD, FACP:

Robert Drapkin, MD, is a healthcare provider who is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care. He is in active practice, working to save lives and improve quality of life through the education of his patients. He provides up-to-date knowledge and guides his patients through their illnesses, exercises and diets. He has been in active medicine practice for over 36 years. Dr. Drapkin is currently 70 years old, and started training as a body builder when he was in his fifties. He has been a competitive body builder for 17 years, and has won many titles and contests. He is currently in training for a national event in July, 2015.

1. Pearson, Gwen. "GMO Spider Venom May Be the Next Viagra." N.p., 16 Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. wired.com/2015/02/gmo-spider-venom-may-be-the-next-viagra/.

2. “One Patient Out of Four with Newly Diagnosed Erectile Dysfunction is a Young Man—Worrisome Picture from the Everyday Clinical Practice;” The Journal of Sexual Medicine, July, 2013; accessed February 16, 2015. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jsm.12179/abstract;jsessionid=C1069CF0998F858255467C8380FD9176.d02t01.

3. Freuman, Tamara. "Can Dietary Changes Improve Erectile Dysfunction?" N.p., 17 Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2015/02/17/can-dietary-changes-improve-erectile-dysfunction.

4. “Obesity and Overweight;” FastStats Homepage, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, updated January 14, 2015; accessed February 16, 2015. cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-.

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