Erectile dysfunction means increased risk for heart disease, regardless of other risk factors

June 11, 2018, American Heart Association
heart
Human heart. Credit: copyright American Heart Association

Erectile dysfunction (ED) indicates greater cardiovascular risk, regardless of other risk factors, such as cholesterol, smoking and high blood pressure, according new research published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

In the study, which followed more than 1,900 men, ages 60 to 78, over 4 years, those who reported ED were twice as likely to experience heart attacks, cardiac arrests, sudden cardiac death and fatal or non-fatal strokes.

The findings, the research team says, suggest that ED is an important telltale sign that can help physicians gauge cardiovascular risk among middle-aged men—an indicator the United Kingdom formally incorporated last year in the risk-scoring algorithm used by clinicians to assess a patient's 10-year risk for suffering an adverse cardiovascular event.1

Erectile dysfunction (ED)—defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse—affects nearly 20 percent of men over age 20, according to research. Cardiovascular disease and ED share common risk factors, including obesity, hypertension, smoking, diabetes and metabolic syndrome—a condition marked by a cluster of features such as elevated blood sugar, hypertension and excess abdominal fat.

"Our results reveal that is, in and of itself, a potent predictor of cardiovascular risk," says study senior investigator Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. "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 or cholesterol—that much more aggressively."

Limited evidence of a link between ED and has emerged over the last several years, but results of this latest study provide what researchers say is the strongest indication to date that sexual dysfunction indicates heightened cardiovascular risk.

During the four-year follow-up, there were a total of 115 fatal and non-fatal heart attacks, fatal and non-fatal strokes, cardiac arrests and sudden cardiac deaths. A greater proportion of men who reported ED (6.3 percent) suffered heart attacks, cardiac arrests or strokes than men who didn't report ED (2.6 percent). When the investigators adjusted their analysis to eliminate the potential influence of other , that risk was somewhat lessened but still markedly higher: Men with ED were nearly twice as likely to suffer cardiovascular events than men without ED.

Participants in the research are part of the ongoing Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, which is following more than 6,000 people of various ethnic and racial backgrounds at several cities across the United States.

Men seeking treatment and evaluation for ED should be a signal to conduct a comprehensive cardiovascular evaluation, said Blaha. Additionally, the researchers say, men should be aware that ED places them at elevated risk for cardiovascular disease.

"The onset of ED should prompt men to seek comprehensive evaluation from a preventive cardiologist," Blaha noted. "It is incredible how many men avoid the doctor and ignore early signs of cardiovascular disease, but present for the first time with a chief complaint of ED. This is a wonderful opportunity to identify otherwise undetected high-risk cases."

Explore further: Heart disease may only be a matter of time for those with healthy obesity

More information: Circulation (2018). DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.033990

Related Stories

Heart disease may only be a matter of time for those with healthy obesity

April 24, 2018
People who are 30 pounds or more overweight may want to slim down a bit even if they don't have high blood pressure or any other heart disease risk, according to scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Erectile dysfunction is red flag for silent early cardiovascular disease

December 15, 2017
Despite decades long prevention and treatment efforts, cardiovascular (CV) disease continues to be the leading cause of death worldwide. Early detection of CV disease can allow for interventions to prevent heart attack and ...

Study highlights benefits of screening for heart disease in men with erectile dysfunction

March 2, 2015
New research reveals that screening for cardiovascular disease in men presenting with erectile dysfunction may be a cost-effective intervention for preventing both cardiovascular disease and, over the longer term, erectile ...

Obesity, other risks play large role in sudden cardiac arrest among the young

February 12, 2018
Obesity and other common cardiovascular risk factors may play a greater role in sudden cardiac arrest among younger people than previously recognized, underscoring the importance of earlier screening, a Cedars-Sinai study ...

Medications to treat cardiovascular risk factors do not impact erectile function

January 29, 2018
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a major public health problem. Men being treated for cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol are at increased risk of developing ED and often consider this ...

Blacks suffer higher rates of fatal first-time heart attacks than whites

July 10, 2017
Black men may have similar risk of coronary heart disease as white men, but their first cardiac event is twice as likely to be fatal. That means preventing a first heart attack is even more crucial for blacks, according to ...

Recommended for you

Genomic autopsy can help solve unexplained cardiac death

August 15, 2018
Molecular autopsies can reveal genetic risk factors in young people who unexpectedly die, but proper interpretation of the results can be challenging, according to a recent study published in Circulation.

Neonatal pig hearts can heal from heart attack

August 15, 2018
While pigs still cannot fly, researchers have discovered that the hearts of newborn piglets do have one remarkable ability. They can almost completely heal themselves after experimental heart attacks.

Fifty percent of cardiovascular patients suffer from multiple diseases

August 15, 2018
New research led by The University of Western Australia has revealed that one in two patients admitted to hospital with a cardiovascular disease is suffering from multiple chronic medical conditions which required complex ...

Innovative triple pill significantly lowers blood pressure, study finds

August 14, 2018
A new low dose three in one pill to treat hypertension could transform the way high blood pressure is treated around the world.

Drug repurposing study sheds light on heart disease risk

August 14, 2018
A team led by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital has developed a computational technique to reveal the unknown side effects—both good and bad—of hundreds of drugs. That knowledge could help pharmacologists discover ...

Rethinking the stroke rule 'time is brain'

August 13, 2018
In 1993, neurologist Camilo R. Gomez, MD, coined a phrase that for a quarter century has been a fundamental rule of stroke care: "Time is brain!"

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

marfynorth
not rated yet Jun 25, 2018
ED is common, and usually, men experience this problem in the early 50s. No one wants to live with weak erections and low libido. Eating a healthy diet is the best way to get rid of the problem. Most men take ED drugs, which can cause various health problems. So, consulting with a highly trained doctor like eddoctoronline.com is a must before taking any medication.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.