Erectile dysfunction could be the harbinger for this serious brain condition
You already know that problems with your penis can signal underlying heart disease. But a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Neurology now suggests that erectile dysfunction can also serve as a harbinger for Parkinson’s disease, a progressive brain condition that causes tremors, motor issues, and impaired balance or coordination.
In the study, researchers tracked over 3,000 men who had just been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction (ED) and over 12,000 healthy men to serve as controls. They discovered that men with ED were 52 percent more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease over the seven-year follow up than those without penis problems—even after adjusting for factors that could be skewing the relationship. (These 15 foods can help your penis perform better.)
But when they looked specifically at some health conditions, they discovered that the Parkinson’s risk was even stronger. Guys with diabetes and ED were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and those with high blood pressure and ED had just over double the risk of Parkinson’s, compared to healthy men.
So what’s going on? Your erectile function is controlled by your autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for telling your blood vessels to dilate when you get aroused, giving you an erection. Dysfunction with that process can hinder your ability to get hard, and the dysfunction is also commonly seen in Parkinson’s, too.
Low testosterone may play a role, too, the study authors write. You need enough of the hormone for proper erectile functioning. And low levels of T are often noted in Parkinson’s patients.