Erectile Dysfunction Strongly Predicts Cardiovascular Events

Men with erectile dysfunction TWICE as likely to have a heart attack

Men with erectile dysfunction TWICE as likely to have a heart attack

When the researchers adjusted their analysis to eliminate the potential influence of other risk factors, that risk was somewhat lessened but still markedly higher - men with ED were almost twice as likely to suffer cardiovascular events than men without ED.

The researchers say men don't pay much attention to signs of heart disease, but they sure do pay attention when their sex life suffers.

Over recent years, some studies have suggested that erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a potential warning sign for heart disease, though the evidence was fairly limited. Men ages 60 to 70 with ED were twice as likely to suffer from heart complications.

By now, most people are familiar with the factors that can increase the risk of having a heart attack: gaining too much weight, having high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, smoking and not exercising enough.

It is more common in the over-40s but affects men of all ages.

The link between impotence and heart disease appears to be "a two-way street", Blaha said, given that men who have had a heart attack appear to face a higher risk for ED. "Patients may feel shortness of breath and things like that, but [erectile dysfunction] is the symptom that's most likely to get a man to go into the [doctor's] office", Blaha said.

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However, it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, side effects of medication, or hormonal issues. The causes of the condition can vary and include stress-related psychological factors as well as physical and biological factors involving blood flow and nerves.

Though he concedes that more studies are needed to examine risk over a longer time period, Blaha advises that men who are experiencing problems getting it up should prioritize getting themselves to the cardiologist.

"Our results reveal that erectile dysfunction is, in and of itself, a potent predictor of cardiovascular risk", said co-author Michael Blaha, Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is linked to greater cardiovascular risk, regardless of other risk factors like cholesterol, smoking and high blood pressure, according to new research published on Monday in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

Blaha's team pulled their data from a large study that tracked the cardiovascular health of more than 6,000 racially diverse men and women across the United States over several years.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to identify otherwise undetected high-risk cases", he adds. Last year, Britain officially incorporated erectile dysfunction into the algorithm used by British doctors to assess the cardiovascular risk of a man over a decade.

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