More on link between erection problems and heart disease
Failing erections may be a signal of heart disease in some men. But heart-healthy lifestyle changes could make a difference.
Scientists have long known about the link between erection problems (ED) and heart health. The theory is that arteries supplying the penis with blood during erections may clog up earlier than those in the heart, which are larger, thus providing an early warning of possible later coronary artery disease. But there's no real proof of this yet.
In the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Jia-Yi Dong of Soochow University in Suzhou, China, and colleagues have examined the connection between the two in twelve earlier studies of ED and heart disease, covering nearly 37,000 men.
They found that men with erectile problems had a 48% increase in their risk of developing heart disease and higher death rates than men who didn't have sexual problems.
Traditional risk factors such as smoking, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure didn't explain the link, strengthening the case that ED, when it isn't due to relationship problems or other psychological issues, is a risk factor for heart disease in its own right.
What could help? Another study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that both lifestyle changes and cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins appeared to improve men's erectile problems although only a little.
Men who exercises more or were put on a Mediterranean diet rich in whole grain, fruits, vegetables nuts and olive oil, for instance, reported a 2.4 point improvement on a 25-point scale of erectile problems.
They added that lifestyle changes appeared to work regardless of whether the men were taking Viagra, the most common drug to treat impotence, or not.
Page created on September 16th, 2011
Page updated on September 16th, 2011