Erectile dysfunction (ED), defined as the consistent inability to obtain and/or maintain penile erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual relations, is associated with a variety of medical, psychological, and lifestyle risk factors. Estimates for ED incidence in the United States range from 20% to 50%, depending on the epidemiologic study consulted. Sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) affects an estimated 4% of men between the ages of 30 and 60 years. This syndrome is characterized by recurrent episodes of upper airway obstruction during sleep, and it is usually associated with loud snoring and increased daytime sleepiness. It also results in marked sleep fragmentation and decreased rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This decrease in REM sleep leads to a decrease in nocturnal erectile activity. Due to the loss of protective erections during REM sleep, some researchers have suggested that SAS may be a risk factor for ED. Both ED and SAS affect millions of men. Both diseases have a significant negative impact upon quality of life and interpersonal relationships. Sleep apnea syndrome represents a risk factor for ED, and the severity of both conditions shows a correlation.
Current Sexual Health Reports – Springer Journals
Published: May 29, 2006