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Viagra & Blood Pressure: How Sildenafil Affects the Heart

Viagra & Blood Pressure How Sildenafil Affects the Heart

Sexual dysfunction can be a harrowing ordeal, especially if it happens all of a sudden. One day, you’re enjoying a healthy sex life; the next, you’re having trouble keeping it up.

Despite how crippling these situations can be, the majority of sexual dysfunction cases can be treated.

There is a slew of treatment options that can help treat your sexual dysfunction. These include vacuum pumps, surgeries, testosterone replacement therapy, and certain medications.

Popular medicationssuch as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitraprovide quick and temporary relief to men with ED.

Even so, as with any treatment, there are risks and side effects associated with these medications. One of the more prominent risks is potential changes to your heart.

That said, how does Viagra (Sildenafil), a medication for erectile dysfunction, affect your heart? Let’s explore the relationship between sildenafil and one of the most vital organs in your body.

Erectile Dysfunction Medications

Erectile dysfunction is when getting or maintaining an erection becomes strenuous. Erectile dysfunction affects more than 50% of American men between the ages of 40 and 70.

Medications, known as PDE-5 inhibitors, help treat erectile dysfunction by increasing the blood flow to the penis. A few PDE-5 inhibitors are:

  • Viagra (Sildenafil)
  • Levitra (Vardenafil)
  • Cialis (Tadalafil)
  • Stendra (Avanafil)

While these medications are often prescribed in a clinical setting, they may not be well-suited for a certain subset of people.

If you have any of the below conditions, it’s highly encouraged that you seek other forms of treatment instead of taking ED pills:

  • History of allergic reaction to Viagra or sildenafil
  • Heart problems or stroke
  • Low or high blood pressure
  • Physical abnormalities affecting your genitals, such as Peyronie’s disease
  • Blood cell problems like leukemia and anemia
  • Severe kidney and liver problems

Men with certain conditions must consult an ED doctor before taking these medications.

Viagra and Blood Pressure

Viagra, one of the most common ED medications, has vasodilator properties. This means that Viagra relaxes the arteries and muscles all over your body. Your heart, too, is affected by Viagra.

Taking Viagra can temporarily reduce your blood pressure. In one clinical study, low blood pressure was observed in around 2% of the people who took Viagra.

Although uncommon, a reduction in blood pressure from taking Viagra can be dangerous if you already have certain heart diseases. One common example is that it can cause people to feel lightheaded or feel faint.

Consulting your doctor before taking any medication is always a good practice.

Can Viagra Cause Heart Attack?

Despite widespread conjecture to the contrary, there is no evidence that Viagra causes heart attacks or strokes.

That said, Viagra can aggravate existing heart conditions. Men who have cardiac problems are advised to refrain from taking Viagra.

When blood flow to the heart muscles is restricted, a heart attack becomes more likely to occur. And as more time passes with it being left untreated, the more damage the heart muscle sustains.

Some symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual or unexplained tiredness

Another cause that can induce heart attack is the blockage of arteries due to the buildup of fat and cholesterol. This is also known as atherosclerosis.

While a heart attack is not often a direct result of ED pills, there are other heart and vascular risks to consider that may exacerbate the risk.

One potential side effect of taking other organic nitrate medications like ED pills is the development of life-threatening hypotension. Hypotension refers to a sudden drop in blood pressure, which can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or even mortality.

Regardless, a correlation between sildenafil and heart attack has not been established. In fact, according to one study, heart attack in men who take Viagra is more likely due to sexual activity than the drug itself.

Is Viagra Safe?

Viagra is effective at treating ED symptoms, but it does not treat the underlying causes of dysfunction. Additionally, Viagra is not always safe.

Viagra’s effectiveness for treating the symptoms of ED stems from its ability to relax smooth muscles and dilate blood vessels. For many individuals with no medical conditions, taking Viagra can be deemed safe, although it does not treat the underlying factors of dysfunction.

A primary concern is that Viagra can lead to fatal interactions when taken with other medications. Taking precautions before taking Viagra can help mitigate these risks.

Some medications that adversely interfere with Viagra include:

  • Antihypertensives
  • Alpha-blockers
  • Antiretroviral drugs like ritonavir

Other than this, Viagra may cause priapism, a prolonged erection, which is an urgent medical concern.

With these potential risks, it’s necessary to have a doctor evaluate your medical history before taking Viagra. If Viagra is unsuitable, you can always consider other ED treatment plans.

Alternative Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Alternative Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction viagra acoustic wave therapy penile implant erectile devices

Erectile dysfunction can occur due to a variety of factors, including illness or pre-existing health issues. As a consequence, the treatment plan tends to vary.

Some standard treatment methods (beyond ED drugs) are the following:

1. Acoustic Wave Therapy

Acoustic wave (or shockwave) therapy uses low-intensity sound waves to improve blood flow and erectile function.

According to one study, shockwave therapy poses no risk of adverse side effects. It’s also a long-term treatment plan rather than a short-term relief, making it a viable way to permanently restore ED.

This makes shockwave therapy a great alternative to ED medication.

2. Vacuum Erection Devices

Also known as vacuum pumps or penile pumps, these devices utilize the suction of a vacuum to force blood into the penis, resulting in an erection.

This treatment option is one of the safest ways to restore erection function. On rare occasions, it can cause side effects, such as mild bruising, restriction of ejaculation, and discomfort.

3. Penile Implants

A penile implant is a surgical procedure that places a water-based device into your penis, which helps you control your erections. These implants may be semi-rigid or inflatable.

The surgery is minimal and takes around 30 to 45 minutes. These surgeries are done by surgeons using antibiotics, which significantly reduces the chances of complications.

Contact Jacksonville’s Top Men’s Health Clinic for a Medical Consultation About ED

Contact Jacksonville’s Top Men’s Health Clinic for a Medical Consultation About ED

While Viagra’s main purpose is to improve erections, it may inadvertently cause lower blood pressure. Viagra could trigger vasodilation in other arteries, resulting in a temporary drop in blood pressure by 5 to 8 mmHg.

While low or high blood pressure medications can help in lowering blood pressure (or increasing it), you can avoid taking ED pills that increase your blood pressure altogether so that you can avoid blood pressure medication.

As such, for men with pre-existing conditions, Viagra may not be the best solution for your erection woes. If you want to restore ED, look into other ED treatment plans.

Sexual dysfunction can be embarrassing to speak about, but before taking any medications, discuss it with a local erectile dysfunction specialist.

A group of medical ED doctors can treat erectile dysfunction with breakthrough medical treatments, regardless of your age or medical history.

The medical professionals at Jacksonville’s Prime Men’s Medical Center specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill for ED and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as Erectile Dysfunction, Premature Ejaculation, Low Testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

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