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Heart Disease

Erectile Dysfunction and Heart Disease

ED can be a symptom of complications throughout the body.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), erectile dysfunction (ED) affects 15 million to 30 million men in America. Despite this figure, thousands of men do not realize that ED can be a symptom of more serious medical complications such as vascular disease.

ED is commonly defined as the difficulty or inability to obtain or maintain an erection. In the past, ED was often blamed on psychological problems or age, but it can actually be triggered by several factors. ED can be a prelude to the development of significant cardiovascular disease in up to 20 percent of patients.

Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity (traditional cardiovascular risk factors) can all contribute to ED. There is not always a direct correlation between your age when diagnosed with ED and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that the risk of significant cardiovascular disease is increased in young men (40-49 years of age) with erectile dysfunction.

Younger patients with ED are the most worrisome because they have a higher chance of developing coronary artery diseases. There are many ways to decrease your risk of developing significant coronary artery disease, such as maintaining a healthy weight and diet, not smoking, and controlling your blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol levels.

If you have been diagonised with ED, make sure to discuss your concerns and potential cardiovascular risks with your doctor.

This article originally appeared in The Ohio State University Medical Center's Heart Newsletter and is published with permission.

Related Resources:

Erectile Dysfunction
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Heart Disease
High Blood Pressure

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Last Reviewed: May 12, 2010

Richard J Gumina, MD
Assistant Professor
Cardiovascular Medicine
Physiology & Cell Biology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University