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There is almost not a man in the world that does not know what erectile dysfunction is or has never even heard of it. The other name for erectile dysfunction is impotence. Erectile dysfunction is the inability of a person to achieve and maintain an erection that is needed for a proper sexual intercourse. People should not mix erectile dysfunction with some other condition that are linked with male sexual intercourse like a lack of sexual desire or problems with ejaculation.

How common is erectile dysfunction?

First of all, people should know that not all cases of erectile dysfunction are the same and that they vary in severity. Some people suffer from total inability to achieve an erection, some suffer from an inconsistent ability to achieve an erection and some are able to sustain only a brief erection. It is not uncommon for men to be too embarrassed to talk to a doctor about this problem and because of that there are a lot of cases of erectile dysfunction that are underdiagnosed. According to the data, there are over 30 million men who suffer from erectile dysfunction in the United States alone. Erectile dysfunction is commonly seen in men older than 50 but it is not uncommon for younger men to suffer from it as well. Experts believe that every person will experience erectile dysfunction at least once in his life when he reaches the age of 45.

How does erection occur?

Every person should know that the first step of an erection is sexual stimulation. This stimulation can either be mental or tactile. When a person is experiences sexual stimulation, electrical impulses along the nerves going to the penis are generated. When that happens, the nerves release nitric oxide and that increases the production of cyclic GMP in the smooth muscle cells of the corpora cavernosa. After that, the smooth muscles become relaxed and allow the blood flow to get to the penis fast. The blood fills the corpora cavernosa and that causes the penis to expand.

Risk factors for erectile dysfunction

There are a lot of risk factors that can influence the occurrence of erectile dysfunction. Some of them are more common than others and men should get to know them in order to avoid them. Some of the most common are advanced age, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, usage of recreational drugs and depression and some other psychiatric diseases.

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