Sexual, Emotional and Heart Health in Older Men
Clinically reviewed by: Dr. Matt Keith
Everyone’s heart is unique. And as a physician, I can tell you that the more you know about your one-of-a-kind heart, the better you can take care of it. While nothing can replace talking with your own healthcare provider, here is some information that can help you become heart smart.
Did you know that sexual and emotional health can have a significant effect on heart health, particularly in men over 50? Being aware of how these three aspects of your health are interrelated can help you – or the man in your life – stay healthy.
Testosterone is a hormone responsible for male characteristics like a deep voice and facial hair. It also aids in the production of red blood cells and muscle mass, and affects sexual desire and mood. As men age, it’s normal for testosterone levels to drop. But low testosterone is increasingly being linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Research shows that it’s now considered a risk factor for cardiovascular health.
So if you suspect you have “low t,” I urge you to talk about it with your healthcare provider.
The penis contains many blood vessels. Because of that, it can be an indicator of your overall cardiovascular health. When a man suffers from erectile dysfunction, it may point to a problem with blood flow, which can be an early sign of future heart problems. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider about this, both to get treatment and to be on the lookout for potential cardiovascular issues.
Stress, anger and anxiety
These emotions can raise blood pressure and elevate levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol. That, in turn, can restrict blood flow to the heart. Over time, these emotions can lead to a greater risk of heart disease. In addition, some negative effects can be felt almost immediately. Within the two hours following an angry outburst, the risk of heart attack is nearly five times greater, and the risk of a stroke is three times greater. So it’s really important to find ways to manage stress, anger and anxiety.
Having a primary care provider whom you feel comfortable talking with and who can monitor your health on a regular basis is vital to a man’s long-term health. If you don’t have a primary care provider, Baptist Health can help you find one who’s dedicated to bringing you care that’s centered on you and your heart, emotional and sexual health.