According to the study, if you have symptoms of erectile dysfunction, you might need to have your heart health checked.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death, however, the risk factors and symptoms are different for both men and women.
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For men, many of the common risk factors for heart disease are the same as the risk factors for erectile dysfunction. Such factors include obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, and metabolic syndrome.
In spite of these commonalities, erectile dysfunction has never been studied as an independent risk factor for heart disease in men.
Now a team of researchers led by Dr. Michael Blaha, an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, set out to investigate the link between erectile dysfunction and heart health in more than 1,900 men over a period of 4 years.
Erectile dysfunction predicts heart disease
The scientists examined data gotten from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, which is “an ethnically diverse, community-based, multisite prospective cohort study” that encompassed 1,914 study participants aged 60–78.
Generally, the study discovered that erectile dysfunction puts men at double the risk of cardiovascular problems such as cardiac arrest, heart attack, sudden cardiac death, or stroke.
This increased risk was independent of other risk factors such as hypertension, smoking and hypertension.
The study lasted for four years, and during that time, 115 heart attacks, strokes, sudden cardiac arrests, and sudden cardiac deaths were recorded.
Before other risk factors were considered, the study revealed that more than 6 percent of the men with erectile dysfunction experienced these heart problems, whereas these forms of heart disease affected only 2.6 percent of the men who did not have sexual dysfunctions.
The risk remained almost twice as high for men with erectile dysfunction after other risk factors were taken into consideration.
Dr. Blaha comments on the findings, saying, “Our results reveal that erectile dysfunction is, in and of itself, a potent predictor of cardiovascular risk.”
According to Dr Blaha:
“Our findings suggest that clinicians should perform further targeted screening in men with erectile dysfunction, regardless of other cardiac risk factors and should consider managing any other risk factors — such as high blood pressure or cholesterol — that much more aggressively.”
Dr. Bhaha also added that most men try to avoid seeing their physician when they have early symptoms of heart disease, but they do seek help immediately when confronted with erectile dysfunction. He said this could be a wonderful opportunity to identify otherwise unnoticed high-risk cases.
“The start of erectile dysfunction should prompt men to seek comprehensive cardiovascular risk evaluation from a preventive cardiologist,” Dr. Blaha concluded.
Their findings were published in the journal Circulation.