Large Study Links Erectile Dysfunction To Heart Disease And Early Death


A new marker for heart disease...: image via earthtimes.orgA new marker for heart disease...: image via earthtimes.orgFrom Australian National University comes a longitudinal study of more than 95,000 men that links erectile dysfunction (ED) with heart disease.  Though previous studies have demonstrated the link between ED and cardiovascular disease (CVD), this is the first study to show how the severity of ED can indicate the extent of the risk - and that ED is not just a risk factor for heart disease, but a risk marker.

In the original population, 95,000 men over the age of 45 were asked the question: "How often are you able to get and maintain an erection satisfactory for sexual activity?"  Their responses allowed the investigators to categorize ED severity into four groups: none (no ED), mild, moderate, and severe.

Then, using information from hospital and government data bases, the researchers were able to predict a model determining hospital rates of admission for CVD based on the level of ED reported by the study participants. They found that during the 2 -3 year follow-up period, risk of CVD was higher for moderate and severe ED participants than the others, and that ED risk was furthered by age - the older they were, the higher the risk. The team also charted the types of CVD (e.g., peripheral vascular disease, heart failure, ischemic heart disease, etc.) that were dependent on each level of severity of ED.

Men with severe ED were 60 percent more likely to go to the hospital with CVD complaints than were those who did not experience ED.  Even those participants who had previously been diagnosed with some type of CVD were more likely to be diagnosed with another form of CVD during the follow up period. And those with severe ED were twice as likely to die during the follow up period.

Both vascular problems, the evidence is so strong that ED is a marker for CVD that the authors suggest that all men experiencing ED should visit their doctors and request treatment for ED and a complete heart health checkup and scheduled follow up.

sources: PLOS Medicine via ABC Science

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