Around the world, there are millions of men living with impotence as a bugbear in their daily lives. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, in the United States alone there are an estimated 30 million men being affected by erectile dysfunction. This number is expected to continue to *rise over the next decade. 
What is Impotence?
Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is unfortunately fairly common among men. While it typically affects men over 40 years of age – 40 percent of men over 40 live with impotence – it does not pass younger men over completely. Researchers believe the reason it has such a propensity to affect among older men is because older men tend to have far more of the health problems associated with erectile dysfunction than younger men do. 
Erectile dysfunction is the diagnosis when a man is unable to achieve an erection or keep his erection firm enough to manage sexual intercourse. This problem can happen intermittently but when it happens frequently, there is cause for concern.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
To get an erection, a man’s body goes through a series of fairly complex steps…
- First, a man must be aroused by something. This could be something he sees or a touch that excites him.
- The brain then sends messages to the sexual organ telling it to relax the arteries in the spongy tissue.
- Blood is quickly pumped into these relaxed arteries, filling the spongy tissue in the man’s penis. The pressure created by this causes the sexual organ to swell, getting longer and harder.
- Another part of the penis helps to keep the blood in the arteries so that the erection can be sustained long enough for sexual intercourse to take place.
There are any number of things that can go wrong in this process, and all can result in an inability to achieve an erection or to keep that erection for long enough.
There are several things that can cause erectile dysfunction in a male…
Lifestyle choices such as smoking, drug abuse or excessive alcohol consumption can lead to impotence. Physical causes of erectile dysfunction can include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, trouble with hormones, obesity or diabetes. High blood pressure is a health issue that plagues around 35 million men and at least 45 percent of men who live with high blood pressure will also experience erectile dysfunction in their lives. Millions of men live with diabetes and of those men, somewhere between 35 percent and 50 percent of them also suffer from impotence. 
There are also several known psychological causes of impotence and they include anxiety, relationship problems and depression.
Sadly, the medications used to treat a lot of these health problems can actually cause erectile dysfunction as a side effect further worsening the ordeal. There are over 200 medications that could result in sexual function being impaired. 
What Are Some Signs of Impotence to Look Out For?
Impotence can be embarrassing enough to discuss with your sexual partner let alone your doctor. However, it is incredibly important to open channels of communication. Erectile dysfunction can also be an early warning sign of several physical health problems. These problems include high blood pressure and heart disease. 
Even if you have none of the above listed health concerns, you might be suffering from impotence. Erectile dysfunction can be mild, moderate or even severe – but if it’s happening is can have a large impact on your overall health.
Here are some signs of erectile dysfunction that you should be on the lookout for…
- Lack of sexual desire – If you have suddenly lost all interest in all the things that used to excite you, you may be suffering from sexual problems. In this case, it could be low testosterone levels. Testosterone is one of the sex hormones that fuels desire and is central to the process of getting an erection. If your testosterone is low, chances are your sex drive is low and you will be unable to achieve an erection.  To help alleviate this, your doctor can treat you with testosterone in an injectable or tablet form. Healthy testosterone levels are important for a man’s overall health and especially sexual health. *Improving your testosterone function can also *boost your sexual function.
- Unable to perform with your partner – If you have no problem getting and maintaining an erection while taking care of yourself but you experience problems with it when you are with your sexual partner, this could be a sign of impotence.
- If you are overly stressed – Stress begets stress. When one thing causes us stress, it seems as if even more stressors begin to pile up around us. If you have been pressured by work, life or finances lately, chances are that stress has moved below the belt. Stress plays a huge role in a man’s ability to become aroused or get an erection.  To make matters worse, if you stress out over your inability to perform in the bedroom, you are likely to further your risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction. Try to chill out so you can *boost your ability to get an erection.
- Are you tired all the time? – If you are not getting enough quality sleep, it’s quite possible your body is having problems with proper sexual functioning. Sleep disturbances can make it difficult for a man to achieve an erection.  Your body is putting all its energy into necessary functions and cannot divert resources to sexual stimulation. Try to get a little more shut-eye and if you just are not getting quality sleep, consider asking your doctor to be tested for sleep apnea. *Increasing the amount of sleep you get is good for you period, but it can also help *increase your ability to get an erection.
In conclusion, there are many signs that can point to you having impotence and there are many causes for the dysfunction.
It might be an uncomfortable visit with your doctor but, for your overall health and well being, it’s an extremely important one so don’t delay and go see him today!
 Ayta IA, McKinlay JB, Krane RJ (1999) The Likely Worldwide Increase in Erectile Dysfunction Between 1995 and 2025 and Some Possible Policy Consequences. BJU Int 84(1): 50-6
 Feldman HA, Goldstein I, Hatzichristou DG, Krane RJ, McKinlay JB (1994) Impotence and its Medical and Psychosocial Correlates: Results of the Massachusetts male Aging Study. J Urol 151(1): 54-61
 Rosen RC, Wing R, Schneider S, Gendrano N 3rd (2005) Epidemiology of Erectile Dysfunction: The Role of Medical Comorbidities and Lifestyle Factors. Urol Clin North Am 32(4): 403-17
 Wyllie MG (2005) The Underlying Pathophysiology and Causes of Erectile Dysfunction. Clin Cornerstone 7(1): 19-27
 Billups KL (2005) Erectile Dysfunction as an Early Sign of Cardiovascular Disease. Int J Res 17 Suppl 1: S19-24
 Mikhail N (2006) Does Testosterone have a Role in Erectile Function. Am J Med 11995): 373-82
 Brecher J (1977) Sex, Stress and Health. Int J Health Serv 7(1): 89-101
 Mann K, Pankok J, Connemann B, Sohn m, Thuroff JW, Benkert O (2005) Sleep Investigations in Erectile Dysfunction. J Psychiatr Res 39(1): 93-9