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Are E.D. Drugs Worth The Risks?

Former U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate Bob Dole may not be remembered for his many accomplishments as a public servant and his service to our country in the military but, instead, as the spokesperson for a drug company promoting Viagra, a product for erectile dysfunction. Those television ads for Viagra have brought the subject of impotence to the attention of millions of Americans. As many as 30 million men in the U.S. alone suffer from the problem.

Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction often turn to Viagra or Cialis to solve their problem. It has been known for years that some men taking this impotence drug will experience short-term blue/green color blindness, headaches and flushing. But, as reported on the website: www.mercola.com, a team of ophthalmologists have identified a much more serious side effect, a condition called nonarteritic ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). NAION caused permanent blindness in a group of males who had taken Viagra. It is depicted as "stroke of the eye" and takes place when the blood flow is cut off to the optic nerve, injuring the nerve and causing permanent vision loss.

Ophthalmologists identified seven patients (ages 50-69) who had distinctive NAION features within 36 hours of taking Viagra; six patients had vision loss within a mere 24 hours after use of the drug. Moreover, all of the patients had at least one of the following arteriosclerotic risk factors: Diabetes, Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia: excess fat or lipids in the blood, and Hypercholesterolemia: elevated cholesterol... as well as a low cup to disk ratio--a way doctors measure the small circular indentation where the optic nerve binds to the eyeball--meaning the blood vessels and nerves are tightly bundled together in the small space behind the eye. And due to the fact that Viagra regulates a chemical to constrict the body's arteries, this could cut off blood flow to the optic nerve, particularly in those who suffer from low cup to disk ratio, where blood vessels and nerves are already tightly packed, and cause vision loss. 

Also Linked To Cardiac Deaths

Findings, through laboratory experiments of both mouse and human cells, have led researchers to say that there is a causal link between Viagra and cardiac death. The impotence drug was found to encourage blood platelets to clump, an occurrence that may explain why some men have suffered from heart attacks after taking the drug. Though clumping of platelets is necessary for normal blood clotting and to protect against blood loss during injury, such clumping is also a factor in causing heart attack and stroke.

Viagra works by increasing levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), a compound in cells. While cGMP was previously thought to inhibit platelet clumping, researchers say that the compound actually promotes clumping by causing platelets to become stickier.

Certain medical conditions tend to reduce libido, performance, or enjoyment. These include hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, neurologic disorders, and insomnia. Other factors may include smoking (can reduce genital blood flow), excessive intake of alcohol, and lack of physical activity. Drugs that interfere with sexual function include some antihypertensives, SSRI's, sedatives, and beta-blockers. The nutrient 5-HTP, which converts into serotonin, may also reduce sex drive.

There are four major areas involved in the human sexual response:
• Phychological - stress, anxiety, and depression reduce sex drive in both men and women.
• Hormonal - low testosterone levels reduce sex drive in both sexes.
• Vascular - hardening of the arteries reduces blood flow and leads to difficulty with erection.
• Chemical - some of the neurotransmitters involved are nitric oxide (NO), dopamine, vasoactive intestinal peptide, and prostaglandins. NO helps dilate blood vessels.

Although Viagra, Cialis and other similar products work very well in dilating blood vessels in the genital region leading to an erection, they do not increase sexual interest, pleasure, or drive. The National Institute Of Health website, MedLine Plus, lists possible side effects from taking these drugs:

Viagra (Sildenafil)
Possible Side Effects: headache, upset stomach, diarrhea, dizziness or lightheadedness, flushing (feeling of warmth), stuffy nose

Cialis(Tadalafil)
Possible Side Effects: headache, indigestion or heartburn, flushing, pain in the back, muscles or any limb, stuffy or runny nose

Viagra and Cialis Serious Side Effects: sudden severe loss of vision*, blurred vision, changes in color vision (seeing a blue tinge on objects or having difficulty telling the difference between blue and green), painful erection, prolonged erection (longer than 4 hours), fainting, chest pain, itching or burning during urination, rash

* note- some patients experienced a sudden loss of some or all of their vision after they took Viagra or other medications that are similar. The vision loss was permanent in some cases. It is not known if the vision loss was caused by the medication


Disclaimer

Tanning & Natural Health News is a publication of Tan Plus /Essentials Of Life, Barclay Square, 350 Route 108, Somersworth, NH. This publication is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be presented as medical advice. Product statements made have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.


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