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Male Sexual Dysfunction May Be Sign of Heart Disease

heartNew research shows that erectile dysfunction among men with diabetes can be an early warning sign for serious heart disease, including heart attack and death.

In one study, researchers found cholesterol-lowering medications could cut the risk of heart problems by about one-third—and suggested that Viagra and other compounds in the same drug family might offer similar protection.

The research, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), underscores the importance of encouraging men to report ED to their physicians and mental health provider, and of focusing treatment not only on overcoming sexual dysfunction but also on improving overall cardiovascular health.

“The development of erectile dysfunction should alert both patients and healthcare providers to the future risk of coronary heart disease,” said Peter Chun-Yip Tong, Ph.D.

“Other risk factors such as poor blood glucose control, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking and obesity should be reviewed and addressed aggressively.”

Diabetes, erectile dysfunction and heart disease share an ominous link: damage to the blood vessels by high blood sugar levels. The same process that hinders the extra blood flow needed to maintain an erection can have even more serious consequences in the heart.

“The first event is probably endothelial dysfunction—when the smoothness and reactivity of the blood vessel are damaged,” said Dr. Tong. “This process encourages local inflammation on the inner surface of the blood vessels and the deposition of cholesterol, resulting in formation of clots and atherosclerosis. Therefore, there is a high risk of blockage of blood vessels in the heart, which can lead to a heart attack.”

Men typically show signs of ED more than three years before the onset of symptoms of coronary heart disease. In one study of diabetic men, symptoms of ED always preceded coronary symptoms.

Source: American College of Cardiology

Male Sexual Dysfunction May Be Sign of Heart Disease

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Male Sexual Dysfunction May Be Sign of Heart Disease. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/05/21/male-sexual-dysfunction-may-be-sign-of-heart-disease/2330.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.