Difference in their adjustment and return to healthy

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difference in their adjustment and return to healthy sexuality. Illness and Sexuality—Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Cancer A variety of medical conditions influence the experience of sexual desire and the expression of sexuality and well-being as we age (Delamater & Sill, 2005). Illness, especially chronic, long-lasting conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer, produce sexual side effects (Maurice, 1999; Schiavi, 1999). Cardiovascular disease —the cause of many issues related to loss of arousal and potentially of sexual desire in men and women. High blood pressure, related to heart disease, may inhibit erection
for men, and if it goes untreated, may cause irreparable damage to the person, including permanent sexual dysfunction. Diabetes —a chronic disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood. High blood levels of glucose can cause several problems, including vision and hearing problems, and among the results of these conditions may be disruption of sexual arousal. Arthritis —inflammation of one or more joints, which results in pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited movement. These factors may inhibit sexual functioning. Chronic pelvic pain appears to be more notable among older women and is associated with loss of sexual desire. Prostate cancer —increasingly found in older men in the United States, in the prostate gland. The prostate is a small, walnut-sized structure that wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. The prostate is also associated with seminal discharge when men become aroused. Breast cancer —breast cancer among women (95%) and men (5%) starts in the tissues of the breast, and appears to be increasingly common. There are two main types of breast cancer: The most common is ductal carcinoma, which starts in the ducts that move milk from the breast to the nipple; lobular carcinoma starts in the breast lobules, which produce milk. The treatments for these diseases are often controversial, especially when it comes to the effect on sexuality, because they might hinder sexual expression. As we have seen, however, there are new treatments and new ways of coping with these ailments. Not all these diseases are fatal. They may result in chronic conditions that people can manage and even overcome, in some cases. Good medical treatment, combined with positive social support and continued engagement in life, go together to create the best possible outcomes. Page 426 Elderhood and Healthy Sexuality Have you ever observed interactions between two people who have been together for decades and still care about each other? The joy and love on display in these interactions are remarkable because we associate them with “being in love.” That couple may still be enjoying their intimate sexual relationship in their old age, much as we saw that an elder couple fell in love in the opening story.

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