High blood pressure: How it can affect both men and women sexually – symptoms to spot

Phillip Schofield gets blood pressure checked in Istanbul in 1991

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Hypertension (high blood pressure) affects more than one billion people worldwide and is the leading cause of premature death. It is imperative for those suffering with the condition to be on top of their game and regularly check their readings. Spotting any unusual changes or new symptoms is also imperative including any sexually related changes.

According to UPMC, a person can develop sexual dysfunctions caused by high blood pressure.

“High blood pressure can cause low libido in women and erectile dysfunction in men,” said the health site.

In fact, men with hypertension are almost twice as likely to have impaired penile blood flow and erectile dysfunction compared to men with normal blood pressure, increasing their risk of heart disease and death.

How does hypertension affect both men and women sexually?

Findings published in the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension delved into high blood pressure symptoms affecting women’s libido.

The study involved 417 sexually active women aged between 31 and 60.

Findings reported that women who suffer with high blood pressure were twice as likely to experience sexual dysfunction compared with their counterparts who had normal blood pressure.

Advancing age and how long they have suffered with hypertension further increased the risk of sexual dysfunction in women.

“These findings are significant because although hypertension affects more than 20 percent of the general population and is a known risk factor for male sexual dysfunction, there have been no definite data on a relation between sexual dysfunction and hypertension in women,” said researcher Dr Michael Doumas, of the University of Athens in Greece.

He added: “Since female sexual dysfunction greatly affects patients and their sexual partner’s quality of life, it seems of great importance to properly recognise and manage female sexual dysfunction in hypertensive women.”

Men with high blood pressure sometimes experience problems getting or keeping an erection that’s hard enough for sex.

When a man is sexually aroused, the brain sends signals to the nerves in and around the penis.

These nerves cause more blood to flow into the penis and for the tissue and blood vessels to relax and open up, allowing blood to flow into the penis, making it hard.

Having high blood pressure, however, can damage these blood vessels throughout the body, including the blood vessels in or leading to the penis.

They can become too narrow, meaning not enough blood can flow through them causing a lack of an erection.

Fortunately, a healthy lifestyle and medications can be all you need to improve your blood pressure and erections.

“Problems getting an erection can even be a sign of high blood pressure, damaged blood vessels and heart disease,” said Blood Pressure UK.

The health site continued: “If you have problems getting an erection and don’t know your blood pressure numbers, speak to your GP and get a blood pressure check.

“It could save you from having a stroke or heart attack.”

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