Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a more and more common condition amongst men, affecting between 15 and 30 million Americans, according to various estimates. Some of the main causes of this problem are stress, extra body weight and blood pressure drugs. Moreover, a recent research shows that, in some cases, a specific DNA variation could play a role in the development of erectile dysfunction.
A survey of almost 37,000 Americans
This study, which was published in PNAS earlier this week, analyzed the genes of almost 37,000 Americans who agreed to take part in the research. The scientists from medical care and health insurance company Kaiser Permanente selected the medical records of men who are suffering from erectile dysfunction. After ruling out the most common risk factors of the condition, they discovered that a variation of the sixth chromosome, which is located close to the SIM1 gene, increases the risk of developing ED by 26 per cent. The scientists have long thought that genetics could be somehow connected with erectile dysfunction, but only now they located the exact place where the problematic gene can be found.
New treatment based on genetics could be developed
According to Eric Jorgenson, a scientist at Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s Division of Research and lead author of the study, it is good news for all man affected by ED, as “identifying the first genetic risk factor for erectile dysfunction is an exciting discovery because it opens the door for investigations into new, genetic-based therapies.” He also said that currently existing ED medications do not help some 50 per cent of those affected by this condition. Additionally, some men decide not to use them, as they want to avoid the side effects of erectile dysfunction medications.
At the moment, various experts advise to adopt a healthier lifestyle as a method of making symptoms of erectile dysfunction less severe. Men should also ask their doctors for advice before they decide to purchase any ED medication.