High blood pressure: It can ‘affect your satisfaction with sex’ – overcome ‘challenges’
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As a result of this often symptomless condition, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that people get their blood pressure checked at least once every five years. You should do this more frequently if you have a high-normal blood pressure. As well as increasing your risk of a number of health conditions, it is thought that it can also cause sexual problems.
A link between high blood pressure and sexual problems has been proven in men.
Though for women who have decreased sexual satisfaction, the Mayo Clinic says it’s not yet been shown that high blood pressure is the cause.
The site adds that sexual activity is unlikely to pose an immediate threat to your health, such as a heart attack, but warns that “high blood pressure can affect your overall satisfaction with sex”.
Erection dysfunction is very common, particularly in men over 40, though it can be caused by high blood pressure.
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The Mayo Clinic says that high blood pressure damages the lining of the blood vessels and causes arteries to harden and narrow, which means that less blood flows to the penis.
“High blood pressure can also interfere with ejaculation and reduce sexual desire. Some blood pressure medications may cause similar effects,” it adds.
The health site also says that high blood pressure can reduce blood flow to the vagina and may lower levels of nitric oxide, a chemical that helps smooth muscles relax.
This may mean that some women experience a lowered sex drive, it adds.
Some high blood pressure medications may also affect sex drive or sexual function.
The Mayo Clinic adds: “If you are taking blood pressure medication and having sexual side effects, talk to your doctor about your options. Some high blood pressure medications are less likely to cause problems with sex drive and sexual function.”
It says you should never take erectile dysfunction drugs with nitrates, which are used to treat chest pain, as doing so can cause “a dangerous drop” in blood pressure.
It advises that men considering medications for erectile dysfunction should check with their doctors first.
The health site says living a healthy lifestyle can lower your blood pressure and “potentially improve your sex life”.
This might include losing excess weight, eating a healthy diet, or making sure to exercise regularly.
The NHS says: “Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.”
Nonetheless, having a raised blood pressure reading in one test does not necessarily mean you have high blood pressure, as blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day.
It is estimated that between 50 to 80 percent of patients with high blood pressure do not take all of their prescribed medicine.
The government says that the NHS Health Check, for adults in England aged 40 to 74, “is an ideal opportunity” for GPs to offer patients regular blood pressure measures and give advice to promote a healthier lifestyle.
Those who are eligible are invited once every five years.
Nonetheless, you can ask for a blood pressure check, as you do not have to wait to be offered one.
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