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In Older Men, Erectile Dysfunction Could Increase Risk for Heart Problems

Jul 25, 2018

In Older Men, Erectile Dysfunction Could Increase Risk for Heart ProblemsErectile dysfunction (ED) – the inability to get an erection firm enough for intercourse – is linked to a greater risk for cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke in older men, according to a recent study.

The research team found that this link is strong even when other heart-related risk factors, such as high cholesterol, smoking, and high blood pressure, are accounted for.

ED and heart disease have a lot in common. Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and metabolic syndrome can play roles in both conditions. Until this study, however, researchers did not know much about ED as an “independent predictor” of heart disease. In other words, they weren’t sure how much ED was involved on its own.

The research team used data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). (Atherosclerosis is the medical term for “hardening of the arteries,” occurring when plaque builds up on artery walls.) They started by looking at the records of 1,914 men who ranged in age from 60 to 78. About 46% of these men had ED.

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