Recognizing Link between Heart Disease and Erectile Dysfunction Urged

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Men with erectile dysfunction or ED are urged by experts to have thorough medical exam to screen for coronary artery disease that can lead to heart attack. Problems obtaining or maintaining an erection are closely linked to risk of heart disease, making it important for men experiencing erectile dysfunction to have a complete medical exam.

Findings show that many men with erectile dysfunction experience heart attack within 3 to 5 years after developing impotence. Cardiologists from UK, Italy, Greece and the USA say a complete medical exam is warranted before physicians consider any type of treatment for erectile dysfunction, based on findings from over 100 studies linking heart disease to ED.

In one study, men with erectile dysfunction age 30 to 39 were found to develop coronary artery disease that can lead to heart attack within 10 years. The risk increased with age.


Men with impotence and family history of heart disease and elevated cholesterol levels of just 20 points are also found to be at increased risk for heart attack.

The research team, led by Dr Graham Jackson, a London-based cardiologist and Chair of the Sexual Advice Association says when blood flow that becomes restricted to the penis causes impotence, men are also at increased risk for heart disease and heart attack from restricted blood flow that can occur in larger blood vessels.

"The evidence supporting the relationship between ED and cardiovascular disease has continued to increase over recent years and yet recognition of the association remains limited among healthcare professionals and the general public" concludes Dr Jackson.

Jackson adds that recognizing the link between heart disease and erectile dysfunction will “improve and save lives”. Erectile dysfunction is an important predictor of heart disease, and experts are urging that men undergo complete medical exam, testing and follow up before treatment for ED is initiated by clinicians.

Journal of Clinical Practice
DOI: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2010.02410.x