Heart Disease Plus ED May Raise Risk for Death
A new study published in Circulation shows that men with both cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction (ED) have a higher risk for a host of heart problems, including death.
ED Is Often Caused by Other Health Conditions
Up to 30 million men in the U.S. are affected by ED. Although it's more common among older men, it is not a normal part of aging. Most often, ED is caused by diseases that damage nerves, arteries, smooth muscles, and fibrous tissues. Health conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure are often to blame.
Researchers collected data on 1,519 men with heart disease from around the world. Based on a questionnaire given at the start of the study, slightly more than half of the men had ED that ranged from mild to severe.
ED Raises Heart Health Risks
After an average of more than four years, 11 percent of men with moderate to severe ED died from any cause during the study period, compared with only 6 percent of men with mild or no ED. Also, men with ED were more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, be hospitalized for heart failure, or die of a heart problem. Risk for these outcomes increased with the severity of ED.
Experts think that ED likely raised risk for complications or death among participants because it's linked with endothelial dysfunction, or problems with the cells that line blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction also occurs in hardening of the arteries and the buildup of sticky plaque that can cause heart attack and stroke.
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Talk with Your Doctor About ED
Although you might feel uncomfortable, it's important to talk with your doctor if you think you have ED. Your doctor may evaluate you for other heart disease risk factors and suggest treatment to lower your risk for heart problems.
In addition, many options exist to treat ED. They range from lifestyle changes to medicine and surgery.
Healthy lifestyle changes include the following:
If lifestyle changes aren't enough to treat your ED, your doctor can suggest a host of other treatments, including these:
For an overview of erectile dysfunction, including information on how it is diagnosed, visit the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Search for the term "erectile dysfunction."
Always consult your physician for more information.