A 12-year long study has suggested that erectile dysfunction (ED) may be an alarming signal of future cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks, strokes, atherosclerosis and congestive heart failures, and asking patients about it is potentially an inexpensive and safe alternative, instead of conventional screening methods.
The report was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and stressed that men with ED faced a 40% increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems.
Andre Araujo, director of epidemiology at New England Research Institutes, and his colleagues, examined and analysed the primitive risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking in a hope to isolate ED as a major and accurate predictor of heart disease like heart attacks and strokes later in life.
The study involved over 1,000 participants, of which 37 percent of men were suffering from ED, in the high risk category while only 17 percent of men without ED had a potentially high risk of heart disease.
In addition, they suggested that even adjusting risk factors as age, cholesterol, smoking and high blood pressure, men suffering from erectile dysfunction still had a 40% increased risk of falling in prey to cardiovascular problems.
"If a man presents [a doctor] with erectile dysfunction, the physician should work him up for cardiovascular disease", Araujo said. "It is low cost – indeed, no cost – with no risk associated with it".