Question: Can sleep apnea cause erectile dysfunction? I do take beta blockers for my high blood pressure. Could that be a factor?
Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
Sleep apnea will not cause erectile dysfunction. But ED may accompany sleep apnea, if it’s not adequately treated. Be sure to have your health evaluated to rule out silent vascular disease or a significant reversible cause apart from your sleep apnea, which I presume is being treated properly with a positive pressure nocturnal device (either mask or nasal pillows).
You should also maintain a healthy weight to help correct your sleep apnea. Sudden death is common with patients who don’t treat their apnea.
Beta blockers are known to cause ED, and some are worse than others. Have your doctor either change your beta blocker or substitute another medicine to confirm and manage any potential drug side effects.
Do not stop the beta blocker yourself, as the doses need to be tapered off under professional supervision to avoid some serious side effects that can occur with sudden beta blocker withdrawal, including stroke, arrhythmia, and heart attack.
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