If you think erectile dysfunction is only a sexual problem, think again. For many men, erectile dysfunction can indicate underlying cardiovascular disease.
“Cardiovascular disease is among the leading causes of erectile dysfunction, but this too often goes unrecognised, putting the man's heart at risk,” renowned cardiologist Dr Chauncey Crandall, chief of the cardiac transplant programme at the Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Florida in the United States, told Newsmax Health.
Keep reading to learn more about the relationship between erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death worldwide
Cardiovascular disease accounts for more than 610,00 deaths – or one out of every four – in the United States, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Erectile dysfunction, on the other hand, affects about 40% of men over the age of 50. It’s also more common in men with cardiovascular disease risk factors.
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Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of erectile dysfunction that’s too often overlooked
“We usually think of cardiovascular disease as a narrowing in the large blood vessels, like the aorta of the heart,” says Dr Crandall. But here’s the thing: Cardiovascular disease can cause a narrowing in the blood vessels throughout the body, which impedes the blood flow to the penis and erectile dysfunction is the result.
In a recent survey involving 2,000 men and women in the United Kingdom, only around 10% of participants listed cardiovascular disease as a leading cause of erectile dysfunction.
Another misconception is that cardiovascular disease causes erectile dysfunction primarily in older men. New research from three South Florida medical institutions proves that this isn’t the case. The researchers reviewed 28 studies of young men and discovered a ‘significant association’ between erectile dysfunction and endothelial function, which can be a sign of early cardiovascular disease.
“Our study supports a more aggressive cardiovascular disease risk assessment and management for persons with erectile dysfunction, including young men who may otherwise be categorised as low risk due to their young ages,” the study team said.
“Referring men with erectile dysfunction for a cardiac workup could be a way of diagnosing cardiovascular disease earlier, and saving the hearts of these men,” Dr Crandall agreed.
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