Got High Blood Pressure? Say Goodbye to Your Sex Life, Say Researchers

By on July 10, 2013
Suffer from high blood pressure? It doesn’t just put you at a higher risk for heart attack or stroke, say researchers–it now can ruin your sex life.

The American Heart Association, which announced its findings on a blog, says that high blood pressure can affect how blood flows throughout the body, which can cause sexual dysfunction in both men and women.

Nearly 78 million Americans currently suffer from high blood pressure.

“It also affects blood flow, and blockages can prevent adequate flow to the pelvis and affect the sex lives of both men and women,” says Dr. Gina Lundberg, a volunteer for the American Heart Association. “In a man, it’s a little more obvious.”

The effects are obvious: For men with high blood pressure, researchers say they are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. Without adequate blood flow to the genitals, being sexually active can become difficult–and in some cases, impossible.

And it’s not just men who suffer either, say researchers. High blood pressure in women can also manifest itself as lower libido or even pain during intercourse.

“Women with high blood pressure may have lower libido and less interest in sex,” says Lundberg. “What woman wants to have sex if she feels tired and wiped out all the time?”

Lundberg also notes that other risk factors linked to high blood pressure can worsen the effects of sexual dysfunction, such as anxiety and stress. Both risk factors can exacerbate the effects of sexual dysfunction from a psychological standpoint, and it’s not uncommon for people with infertility problems to experience high levels of stress or anxiety.

Bottom line: High blood pressure just doesn’t affect your health; it could even impact your ability to be intimate with your spouse.

The Natural Way to Lower High Blood Pressure

Generally speaking, it’s okay to be sexually active if you have high blood pressure–but keep in mind not treating it early can increase your risk of complications associated with intimacy. To best control your out of control blood pressure, here’s how to modify your lifestyle:

  • Cut the salt. Consuming too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and is usually associated with a poor lifestyle; people who eat a lot of salt also tend to eat a lot of fast food, for instance. To keep blood pressure low, veer away from foods that often contain high levels of sodium, such as fast food, food made in restaurants, and processed foods.
  • If you need to, lose weight. Being overweight or obese is linked to a higher risk of blood pressure, so if you’ve packed on one too many pounds, now’s the time to lose it. But how? Most nutritionists recommend eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources as an easy way to cut the fat.
  • Nix cigarettes and alcohol. Smoking and drinking alcohol aren’t healthy for innumerable reasons, but both habits can also send your blood pressure skyrocketing. Your solution: Quit cold turkey, or if you fear you have an addition, seek out an addiction counselor, who can help you kick the habit.

Readers: What are some other ways you keep your blood pressure under control?

How High Blood Pressure Affects Sexual

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