Look for the warning signs.Erectile dysfunction may be a warning of other health problemsLook for the warning signs. Erectile dysfunction may be a warning of other health problems.

Erectile dysfunction and lack of sexual desire among Australian men aged 35-80 years is common (31%). Sexual relations are not only an important part of people’s well-being, but erectile dysfunction can be a very serious issue because it may be a marker of underlying cardiovascular disease, and it often occurs before heart conditions become apparent.

The major risk factors are being overweight, a high level of alcohol intake, having sleeping difficulties or obstructive sleep apnoea, and age. The good news is that erectile function may be improved by weight loss and a healthy diet, exercise, drinking less alcohol and by a better night’s sleep. Medication to help with erectile function is available however, it is likely to be more effective if lifestyle factors are also addressed.