Erectile dysfunction severity can predict future heart disease and early death risk

By: Emily Lunardo | Heart Health | Friday, March 18, 2016 - 01:30 PM

Erectile dysfunction severity can predict future heart disease risk and mortalityErectile dysfunction severity can predict future heart disease and early death risk. A large study published in PLOS Medicine found that erectile dysfunction (ED) corresponds to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Previous research only showed the association between erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease risk.

The researchers studied the association between severity of self-reported ED and cardiovascular disease hospitalizations and mortality among 95,038 men over the age of 45. After making adjustments for cofounding factors, the study included 65,000 men without cardiovascular disease and over 29,000 men with known cardiovascular disease. During the 2.2-year follow-up, there were 7,855 incidences of hospital admittance due to cardiovascular disease, along with 2,304 deaths noted during a 2.8-year follow-up.

The researchers found that among the men with unknown cardiovascular disease, those with severe versus no ED had a 35 percent increased risk of hospitalization for all cardiovascular diseases and a 93 percent increase risk of all-cause mortality.

The researchers said, “The findings of this study highlight the need to consider ED in relation to the risk of a wide range of CVDs.” The researchers also stress that ED is an unlikely cause of cardiovascular disease, but that both may be caused by atherosclerosis. They suggest that ED could be a useful marker for identifying men who should be tested for possible cardiovascular disease.

Common causes of erectile dysfunction

Although the risk of erectile dysfunction does increase with age, age is not the only and absolute factor to blame for impending erectile function. In fact, researchers have identified up to five common causes for erectile dysfunction that include medical conditions, medications, emotional distress, lifestyle choices, and physical injury.

Medical conditions: Heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, and Peyronie’s disease have all been linked to erectile dysfunction.

Medications: Many prescribed and over-the-counter medications have been linked to erectile dysfunction. Some common medications that can contribute to ED include antidepressants, antihistamines, and blood pressure medication.

Emotional distress: Depression, anxiety, relationship problems, low self-esteem, guilt, and any other negative emotion and emotional distress can contribute to ED. An easy fix is to seek out help with your emotional distress and your ED will most likely improve.

Lifestyle choices: Smoking, eating unhealthy, lack of exercising, being overweight, and drinking too much are some of the many lifestyle choices that can contribute to ED. In many cases, correcting poor lifestyle choices works quickly to improve ED.

Physical injury: Injuries that affect the lower half of the body can contribute to erectile dysfunction. For example, prolonged cycling may contribute to ED.

As you can see, some of the common causes of erectile dysfunction are modifiable factors, meaning you can prevent erectile dysfunction and easily treat it without medication. By uncovering your underlying cause of ED, you can receive relief.

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