Erectile dysfunction can be a cardiovascular health alarm going off, finds a German study reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. ED should take you to the doctor's office and a cardiovascular workup, never ignored. It can be the first sign of atherosclerosis, which can show up in the penis several years before the onset of cardiovascular disease, because arteries in the penis are smaller.
According to an article by Thomas H. Maugh II in the LA Times,
Dr. Michael Bohm, a cardiologist at Germany's Saarland University, and his colleagues studied 1,519 men from 13 countries who were involved in a study of two drugs to treat cardiovascular disease. The men were also queried about their ED at the beginning of the study, two years into it and at the end at five years. A full 55% of the men had ED at the beginning of the trial, nearly double the normal incidence of about 30% in the population at large.
The team reported that, in the five years of follow-up, men with ED were 1.9 times as likely to die from heart disease, twice as likely to have a heart attack, 1.2 times as likely to be hospitalized for heart failure and 1.1 times more likely to have a stroke. The risks increased with the severity of the ED.
This study is one more of many that point to the need not only to consult a doctor about ED but also to make sure a cardiovascular workup follows.
In writing Naked at Our Age, I hear from many men with ED who are justifiably concerned and exploring medical diagnoses and solutions. But I also hear--often from women whose spouses have developed ED--about men who will not go to a doctor, will not discuss it with their wives, and often withdraw from sex and intimacy altogether. Others may ask their doctor for Viagra or Cialis without ever investigating the cause of the ED.
About.com sex educator Corey Silverberg brings up another part of the problem -- doctors aren't trained to talk about sex,and it's hard to get a useful conversation going about it. True, Corey, but our lives may depend how hard we try.
Don't ignore ED and don't just treat the symptoms with drugs-- find out what's going on. Please.
I invite your comments.