Men complaining of erection problems should be checked and monitored for heart trouble, researchers said yesterday.
Erectile dysfunction can have a variety of origins including cardiovascular disease, and sufferers can easily obtain pharmacological relief from a physician.
But the study of nearly 9,500 men older than 55 found that those without a previous diagnosis for cardiovascular disease who sought help for erectile dysfunction had a 25 percent higher risk of suffering a cardiovascular“event” within the following five years.
The five-year risk of a heart attack, stroke or angina rose to 45 percent when men with previous cardiovascular problems were included in the nine-year study, said Dr. Ian Thompson of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
“Our data provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, of a strong association between erectile dysfunction and subsequent development of clinical cardiovascular events,”Thompson wrote in the report published in this week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Among the 600,000 American men aged 40 to 69 who annually seek help for erectile dysfunction, a significant number do not get regular check-ups so it presents a good opportunity for the doctor to check for heart trouble, suggest further monitoring, and prescribe treatment, if necessary, Thompson wrote.