Older men with restless legs show higher rates of erectile dysfunction

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2010-01-01 10:48

A new study shows that older men with restless leg syndrome (RLS) also suffer from higher rates of erectile dysfunction. The findings also show that increased frequency of restless leg syndrome leads to worsening erectile dysfunction for men.

For men who have restless leg syndrome 15 times a month or more, the incidence of erectile dysfunction was as high as seventy eight percent, and lower for those who experienced fewer episodes of RLS monthly.

The study, published in the journal Sleep suggests that restless leg syndrome and erectile dysfunction share the same mechanism.

For older men without restless leg syndrome the occurrence of erectile dysfunction was forty percent. For older men who reported restless leg syndrome, erectile dysfunction incidence was fifty three percent. The study came from an analysis of 23,119 men who participated in the Health Professional Follow-up Study. Information about erectile dysfunction and RLS was obtained via questionnaire. Average age of the men was 69, that included male dentists, optometrists, osteopaths, podiatrists, pharmacists and veterinarians in the US. Approximately four percent of the men had RLS.

According to lead author Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, instructor at Harvard Medical School, associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and research scientist at the Harvard School of public health in Boston, Mass, "The mechanisms underlying the association between RLS and erectile dysfunction could be caused by hypofunctioning of dopamine in the central nervous system, which is associated with both conditions."

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