Impotence may be sign of heart problems, study says

Maricruz Casares
Junio 15, 2018

"Our results reveal that erectile dysfunction is, in and of itself, a potent predictor of cardiovascular risk", study author Dr. Michael Blaha said, "The magnitude of the effect was surprising to me".

The authors suggest that ED affects almost 20 percent of men over the age of 20. Investigators adjusted for major risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, family history of CHD, cholesterol levels, and systolic blood pressure, as well as use of lipid-lowering and antihypertensive medication, beta blockers, and even depression.

Other risk factors, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, did not play a role in the findings.

Blaha said that doctors should perform targeted cardiovascular screenings in men who report erectile dysfunction, he also added that the predisposing factors for stroke and heart attack should be managed more aggressively in male patients who report ED as compared to the current standard.

According to S. M. Iftekhar Uddin, MBBS (Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, Baltimore, MD), and colleagues, their study "provides some of the strongest evidence to date for the independent predictive value of ED in a modern, multiethnic, well-phenotyped cohort".

The researchers say doctors should consider beginning evaluations of cardiovascular health for men who come to them asking for help with erectile dysfunction.

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For the study, researchers followed more than 1,900 men between ages ages 60 to 78 over four years.

When that happens, he continued, many physicians will simply order a testosterone panel, ask about mental health, or prescribe ED drugs. Significantly greater proportions of men with than without ED suffered an event: 3.4% vs 1.4% CHD events and 6.3% vs 2.6% CVD events. In total, the group racked up 115 heart attacks, strokes and cardiac arrests.

Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) are nearly twice as likely to experience a cardiovascular event as those without ED. "Our results suggest that these two factors may partially mediate the relationship between prior CVD and subsequent ED, but do not attenuate the prospective association of ED and incident CVD".

"While there are effective treatments for ED, one must never overlook an opportunity to ask a simple question: 'Why?' In addition, men should be aware of the potential implications of ED and inform their provider", Becker said.

For men, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking or metabolic syndrome are all warning factors of heart disease, which affects a quarter of men under the age of 40 in the United States.

Although ED is not a direct cause of cardiovascular health risks, it is a sign that middle-aged men should not ignore.

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