Erectile dysfunction is linked to a ‘59% higher risk of heart disease’: Scientists warn impotence is the first sign of poor blood flow in the body
- Chinese scientists looked at 25 studies with a total of more than 154,000 men
- Impotence also raised the risk of stroke by 34% and premature death by 33%
- Experts urges impotent men to ‘pay aggressive attention to heart disease’
Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) may be more at risk of heart disease, stroke or a premature death, research suggests.
Chinese scientists looked at 25 studies with a total of more than 154,000 men.
They found those who struggled get or stay erect were 59 per cent more likely to develop heart disease than those who had no problem becoming aroused.
Impotence also raised the men’s risk of a stroke by 34 per cent and premature death by 33 per cent, the study found.
Failure to become erect may be an early indicator of poor blood flow in the body, an expert warns.
Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction may be more at risk of heart disease (stock)
During arousal, impulses are sent from the brain to the muscles that surround erectile tissue.
These muscles relax, which allows blood to flow in and causes the penis to expand.
Dr Ron Blankstein, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told CNN: ‘The penile artery that delivers blood flow to the penis is a much smaller diameter, and it’s the smaller blood vessels which show the first signs of disease.’
‘If erectile dysfunction is a repeated pattern, a man really needs to pay aggressive attention to potentially having heart disease.’
Results of the Chinese study revealed the health risks were greatest among the ED sufferers who were over 55, diabetic or smoked.
Perhaps surprisingly, the men who had ED for less than seven years were more at risk than those who had struggled with the condition for longer. It is unclear why this occurred.
‘Severe’ ED also raised the risk of heart disease and early death more than milder cases, the study found.
To combat both ED and heart disease, Dr Blankstein urges smokers to quit, calling the habit the ‘single most important modifiable risk factor’.
He also encourages impotent men to eat well, exercise and lose weight if necessary.
‘I think the important message is at the very least, you need to pay attention to your underlying risk factors for heart disease, smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol,’ Dr Blankstein said.