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Sep 22, 2011

Links Between Heart Disease and Erectile Dysfunction

Study shows men with erectile dysfunction have greater cardiovascular risk.

Numerous studies in the past have suggested a link between erectile dysfunction and heart disease. Both share many of the same risk factors, such as age, high blood pressure and obesity, and it seems as though many men living with heart disease experience erectile dysfunction, and vice versa. And having heart disease can even worsen erectile dysfunction in some patients. Therefore, these observations have raised an important question — does having erectile dysfunction increase risk for developing heart disease?

A study published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows that erectile dysfunction significantly increases risk for heart disease, stroke and even risk of death. Researchers analyzed recent studies involving 36,744 men, some of whom suffer from erectile dysfunction. They found that men with erectile dysfunction were 46–48% more likely to develop heart disease, at 35% increased risk for stroke, and at 19% increased risk for death, in comparison with men without erectile dysfunction.

Based on findings, researchers believe that erectile dysfunction may be an independent risk factor of heart disease. This means that erectile dysfunction could increase risk for heart disease, as would other common conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Therefore, it is important that men suffering from erectile dysfunction see their doctor immediately to identify any possible cardiovascular causes of their condition and address them appropriately. Patients with erectile dysfunction should also be sure to reduce all other existing cardiovascular risk factors they may have to help minimize their likelihood of developing heart disease or suffering stroke, heart attack and death. 

Read this Article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Questions for You to Consider

  • How many men suffer from erectile dysfunction?
  • It is estimated that 18 million men in the United States experience erectile dysfunction. Major risk factors for erectile dysfunction include diabetes, smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, overweight, depression, stress, heart disease and certain medical treatments.
  • How are erectile dysfunction and heart disease related?
  • The causes of erectile dysfunction and heart disease are very similar. Heart disease often occurs when there is a build-up of plaque in the arteries, which decreases blood flow to the heart, brain and rest of the body. Therefore, this build-up of plaque can affect blood flow to the penis, just as it would affect blood flow to the heart, sometimes causing or worsening erectile dysfunction.


Tom Weiser is CardioSmart

Tom has had two heart attacks triggered by familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). He has become a vocal and educated advocate for his disease and a positive example for his four children.

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