Problems getting or maintaining an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse may be an early warning sign of trouble, especially cardiovascular disease.
The connection between Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) includes the fact that they both follow the same age-related trajectory and both become increasingly common starting around age 45. In addition, a study, appearing in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2004), shows that smoking, being overweight, and having high cholesterol or high triglycerides, which are all risk factors for heart disease, were linked with erection difficulties 25 years later.
A subsequent study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (2005), showed that older men with ED had close to double the risk of developing cardiovascular disease as those without it. Looked at another way, that indicates that ED is as much of a Cardiovascular Disease risk factor as smoking, high cholesterol, or having a family history of heart attack.
The association grew even stronger when a Dutch study (2007) came to similar conclusions; i.e. men with ED were approximately 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to develop CVD (defined as heart attack, stroke, or sudden death) than men without erectile dysfunction. The odds of developing CVD increased based on the severity of the ED (defined as having erections with severely reduced rigidity or not having erections at all). Even after other factors, such as age, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking, were taken into account, the increased risk of CVD was still statistically significant. Researchers also estimated that nearly 12% of cardiovascular events (e.g. heart attacks) may have been avoided if the men had been more aggressive about CVD prevention after they began having erectile troubles.
If you have questions or concerns about erectile dysfunction, please contact the Urology Group of Princeton to schedule an appointment. We will take the time to listen, evaluate, make an informed diagnosis, and provide you with the best care and treatment options possible.