If you have symptoms of erectile dysfunction, it might be a good idea to have your heart health checked. This is the main finding of a new study that suggests that erectile dysfunction might be an early sign of heart disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, but the risk factors and symptoms are different for the two sexes.
For instance, risk factors such as birth control pills, emotional stress, hormonal changes, and depression are known to be more pronounced in women than in men.
For men, many of the common risk factors for heart disease — such as high blood pressure, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and smoking — are the same as the risk factors for erectile dysfunction, which is a condition that affects as many as 25 percent of all men under the age of 40.
Despite these commonalities, erectile dysfunction has never been studied as an independent risk factor for heart disease in men.
But now, researchers led by Dr. Michael Blaha — an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD — set out to fill this gap in research by investigating the link between erectile dysfunction and heart health in more than 1,900 men over a period of 4 years.