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ED and Heart Trouble | Did You Know?


Younger men with erectile dysfunction (ED) should consider being checked for heart disease.

Researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago recently reported findings that show a higher risk of heart disease in men over 30 who have ED. The younger a man is, the greater his risk.

The main connection between ED and heart disease is atherosclerosis, better known as hardening of the arteries. When this happens, plaques narrow the arteries and restrict blood flow.

The process usually starts in smaller arteries, like those in the penis. For a suitable erection to happen, the penis needs to fill with blood. But if blood flow is restricted by atherosclerosis, there won’t be enough blood traveling into the penis for an erection. That’s when ED occurs.

The situation can be a warning sign. If smaller arteries are becoming blocked, it’s possible that the larger arteries, such as those that work with the heart and other parts of the body, are affected too.

ED and heart disease also have some of the same risk factors, like diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and smoking.

Men with ED who are concerned about heart disease or its risk factors should talk to their doctor. Finding heart disease early – and treating it – may help ward off more serious problems down the road. And knowing about heart disease can help doctors and patients choose an ED treatment, too.



Blanchard, Kathleen, RN
“Erectile dysfunction linked to heart trouble: What men should know”
(September 2, 2012)

Mayo Clinic
“Erectile dysfunction: A sign of heart disease?”
(August 16, 2012)

Medical News Today
Kearney, Christine
“Erectile Dysfunction Linked to Increased Cardiovascular Risk”
(August 31, 2012)