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Severe ED Linked to Higher Cardiovascular Risk

Severe ED Linked to Higher Cardiovascular RiskMen with severe erectile dysfunction (ED) are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure in ten years than men with milder cases, according to a new study.

Cardiovascular disease affects the heart and blood vessels. Examples of cardiovascular issues include heart attack, coronary artery disease, angina, arrythmias, aortic aneurysm, stroke, transient ischemic attacks, and congestive heart failure.

High blood pressure (hypertension) occurs when the force of blood flow against artery walls is stronger than it should be.

Scientists have long studied the relationship between ED and cardiovascular diseases. In fact, ED is considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In this study, researchers wanted to learn more about the connection.

They collected data from 108 men (median age 51) who had been treated for ED at one clinic between 2005 and 2011. When the study started, none of the men had cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure.

The researchers assessed the men’s overall health and asked them to complete a questionnaire called the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF). This tool helped determine how severe the men’s ED was. At the beginning, 40% of the men were diagnosed with severe ED.

The men had follow-up appointments every six months for about seven or eight years.

Overall, the men had a 15% higher estimated risk for developing cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure during the next 10 years. However, this figure changed based on ED severity. Estimated risk was 5% for men with mild or moderate ED. For men with severe cases, the risk was 34%.

ED severity was linked to higher risk for shorter time spans, too. For example, men with mild to moderate ED were at 5% higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease within seven years. The figure for men with severe ED was 19%.

The authors called for further research, noting that their study focused on men from just one medical center. There was also no comparison group of men without ED, they added.

However, the results could help doctors determine which men should be watched for cardiovascular symptoms after an ED diagnosis.

“This will give physicians proper tools to offer more personalized and tailored medical assessment in terms of prevention and screening strategies to patients presenting with ED as their primary complaint,” they wrote.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Pozzi, Edoardo, MD, et al.
“Longitudinal Risk of Developing Cardiovascular Diseases in Patients With Erectile Dysfunction—Which Patients Deserve More Attention?”
(Article in Press. Published: April 24, 2020)