Erectile Dysfunction | Cardiovascular Diseases
– According to data reported in European Urology (1), about 70% patients who are diagnosed with angina have some degree of erectile dysfunction (ED Treatment Learn More).
– It is postulated that erectile dysfunction is often the mild early symptom of coronary artery disease.
– Data also indicates that mean interval between the onset of erectile dysfunction (ED Prevention Learn More) and onset on angina symptoms is 40 months (1), which also indicates that ED can be used as marker for the determination of cardiac risk.
Erectile Dysfunction and Cardiovascular Diseases – Relation
Erectile dysfunction often coexists with cardiovascular issues. This is mainly because the factors that contribute to cardiovascular diseases are also associated with erectile dysfunction.
Factors that increase the risk of ED and cardiovascular diseases are
– Advanced atherosclerosis
– History of uncontrolled high blood pressure (for more than 5 years)
– Body mass index more than 28 kg/m2
– History of poorly controlled diabetes (ED & Diabetes Learn More)
– Long history of tobacco (ED Smoking & Alcohol Learn More) use/ illicit drugs or excessive alcohol consumption (ED & Alcohol Consumption Learn More)
All these factors leads to formation of atheroma (fibrous plaque in the blood vessels) that affect the integrity of vessel caliber, leading to poor blood circulation to heart and associated structures leading to ischemic injury. Same phenomena is responsible for erectile dysfunction in males. Same pathophysiology also increases the risk of other vascular disorders; such as stroke (Reduce Stroke Learn More).
Data (3) indicates that
– 24.7% patients with moderate erectile dysfunction can develop stroke within 10 years if no intervention is taken
– Likewise, in the absence of any preventive measures, 43.6% patients with severe ED can develop stroke within 10 year time-frame.
In addition, some drugs that are used to manage the symptoms of cardiac dysfunction can also lead to erectile dysfunction (such as nitrates, beta-blockers)
Managing Erectile Dysfunction due to Cardiovascular Issues
Often times, dietary and lifestyle strategies that manage cardiac illness can also help in erectile dysfunction. However, there are a few concerns that must be addressed
– The traditional over-the counter drugs that manage ED (such as Cialis and Viagra) are contraindicated in cardiovascular diseases (especially those who are on nitrate or vasodilator therapy)
– Always speak to a healthcare professional before initiating a new drug (for the management of ED or cardiac dysfunction)
– Certain drugs that manage hypertension and cardiac dysfunction can worsen erectile dysfunction such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers. It is highly recommended to speak to your healthcare professional for revision of prescription in all such cases.
If you are experiencing problems in achieving or maintaining erection, make sure to speak to a healthcare professional for proper evaluation of your condition and to learn about other treatment or management options to improve your physical and sexual health (Dr. Elist Sexual Health Learn More).
Montorsi, F., Briganti, A., Salonia, A., Rigatti, P., Margonato, A., Macchi, A., … & Montorsi, P. (2003). Erectile dysfunction prevalence, time of onset and association with risk factors in 300 consecutive patients with acute chest pain and angiographically documented coronary artery disease. European urology, 44(3), 360-365.
Schwartz, B. G., & Kloner, R. A. (2011). Cardiovascular implications of erectile dysfunction. Circulation, 123(21), e609-e611.
Crestani, Sandra, Kenia Pedrosa Nunes, Maria Consuelo Andrade, José Eduardo Da Silva Santos Marques, and R. Clinton Webb. “The Role Erectile Dysfunction Plays in Cardiovascular Diseases.”
When to Seek Medical Advice for ED?
IF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION LASTS LONGER THAN 2 MONTHS OR IS A RECURRING PROBLEM, SEE YOUR DOCTOR FOR A PHYSICAL EXAM OR FOR A REFERRAL TO A DOCTOR WHO SPECIALIZES IN ERECTILE PROBLEMS. YOUR OWN DOCTOR OR A SPECIALIST CAN HELP TO DETERMINE THE UNDERLYING CAUSE OR CAUSES OF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION AND GUIDE YOU TOWARDS FINDING THE RIGHT TYPE OF TREATMENT.
Although you might view erectile dysfunction as a personal or embarrassing problem, it’s important to seek treatment, especially if a physical cause might be developing. In many cases, erectile dysfunction can be successfully treated. Also, see your doctor if the therapy or medication prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction isn’t working for you. Don’t try to combine medications or therapies on your own or deviate from prescribed doses and do not your symptoms as they could be one of Erectile Dysfunction Causes.