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Erectile Problems Can Point To Heart Disease

Source:  Heart and Stroke Foundation

A study from the American Journal of Medicine shows that men with erectile dysfunction (ED) are more likely to have existing heart disease or risk factors for heart disease than men who don’t have erectile dysfunction. In a sample of 2,126 men over the age of 20, 18.4% had ED. However, 50% of men with diabetes or a history of heart disease had ED. Even after adjusting for age, the link between ED and heart disease or heart disease risk factors was clear.

The penis is supplied by small arteries. Diseases that cause a build up of plaque or a narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis) can affect these smaller arteries before the problems start showing up in the arteries around the heart. When penile arteries are narrowed by plaque, blood flow is reduced and this can prevent erections or make them difficult to maintain.

Many men may be reluctant to see a doctor about ED, thinking it is not life-threatening. However, if a man does seek help for erectile difficulties by speaking with his doctor, he may be able to detect and prevent heart disease.