A large 2000 survey suggested that nearly 620,000 American men between ages 40 and 70 experience erectile dysfunction of any degree each year, and an estimated 20 million and 30 million men in the US have erectile dysfunction at some point during their life.
Being older is primarily associated with impotence in most men. At a major professional meeting in 2000, experts reported survey results finding that 44% of men over age 50 experienced some degree of erectile dysfunction, but less than a quarter of them discussed their problems with a physician.
Many felt this was simply an aging problem. Nevertheless, impotence is not inevitable with age. In another survey of men over 60 years old, 61% reported being sexually active, and nearly half derived as much if not more emotional benefit from their sex lives as they did in their 40s.
Severe erectile dysfunction in elderly men often has more to do with disease than age itself. For example heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension can cause sexual dysfunction and are more likely to occur in older than younger men.
So many physical and psychological situations can cause erectile dysfunction, in fact, that a man should consider brief periods of impotence to be as normal as having a cold. In fact, a cold is one common condition that can cause temporary impotence. It is safe to say, then, that every man experiences erectile dysfunction from time to time.
American Urological Association
Revision date: July 5, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD