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Lifestyle may play role in potential for impotence
ATLANTA (CNN) -- Drinking, exercise and body type are factors that can affect whether or not a man will become impotent, according to new research being presented at the American Urological Association's annual meeting in Atlanta.
The study, presented by Eric Rimm of the Harvard School of Public Health, included nearly 2,000 male subjects. Researchers found that any one of these conditions increased the likelihood of impotence: a large waist, too little exercise, not drinking any alcohol, or drinking too much alcohol.
Rimm says high cholesterol, which restricts blood flow, may be the common condition in these men.
"Much like factors that lead to atherosclerosis, or factors that impede blood flow to the heart, we think that similar factors may impede blood flow to the genital area," Rimm said. Blood flow to the genital area is necessary for erection.
Studies have shown that people who have one or two drinks a day have lower cholesterol, and therefore better blood flow, than those who don't drink at all, or those who drink to extreme.
Research has also shown that overweight people and sedentary people often have high cholesterol.
"I was somewhat surprised at the strength of the association, that individuals who exercised vigorously had such a substantial reduction in erectile dysfunction." Rimm said.
Until now, not much has been known about the relationship between lifestyle and impotence. Rimm's research points scientists in a new direction. Doctors hope these finding will help impotent men to make changes that may improve their sex lives.
Your Health -- A new drug for impotence
American Urological Association
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