A recent study estimated that 2.3 million men in Shanghai over the age of 40 suffer from erectile dysfunction, local media reported Sunday.
The study, which surveyed 1,720 local men between 40 years old and 80 years old, aimed to investigate the sexuality and health of middle-age and elderly men in the city and the factors linked to sexual inactivity and erectile dysfunction, according to the Oriental Morning Post.
The Shanghai Institute of Andrology at Renji Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University conducted the study, which was released for National Men's Health Day on Sunday.
The survey showed that 39 percent of the 698 respondents with an active sex life have suffered from erectile dysfunction, or impotence. It also found that 56 percent of male respondents over 40 years old were no longer having sex due primarily to erectile dysfunction.
It is difficult to determine whether the problem is a growing one, according to Qi Guangchong, director of the Andrology Committee of the China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine. "Few surveys about men have been conducted because Chinese people are shy when it comes to talking about their sex lives," Qi told the Global Times.
Erectile dysfunction has a variety of causes. The study found that diabetes, obesity, hyperglycemia and hypertension can all cause erectile dysfunction. "More than 25 percent of men who have diabetes first turn to a doctor because they are suffering from impotence," Qi said.
A man's sex drive can be seen as a barometer for his overall health. Qi advised men who suffer from erectile dysfunction to see a doctor to determine what might be causing it.
Activities such as smoking, drinking, overeating and not getting enough exercise are all linked to erectile dysfunction.
"Previous research has found that smoking reduces blood circulation, which can affect the erection and hurt the quality of one's sperm," Qi said.
He suggested that men quit drinking and smoking to help ensure they can have a healthy sex life well into the future.
"Keeping a balanced diet, exercising regularly and maintaining an affable relationship with one's partner are all important for aging people to maintain an enjoyable sex life," Qi said.
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