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Viagra could help men live LONGER and prevents heart attacks in males with coronary artery disease

Viagra could help men to live LONGER: Blue pill prolongs life and prevents heart attacks in males with coronary artery disease, study finds

  • Scientists analysed 18,500 men with coronary artery disease and impotence 
  • 16,500 were on Viagra, while 2,000 received a drug called alprostadil
  • Those on Viagra were found to live longer, and be at lower risk of heart attack
  • The reason for the link remains unclear, although the researchers hope the findings will encourage follow-up studies 

It’s known for its beneficial effects in the bedroom, and now a new study suggests that Viagra could also help men to live longer.

Researchers tested the drug, often referred to as the ‘blue pill’, on men with coronary artery disease – a condition that causes the heart’s blood supply to be blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries.

They found that men who took Viagra not only lived longer, but also had a lower risk of experiencing a new heart attack.

While the reason for the link remains unclear, the researchers hope the findings will encourage men with coronary artery disease to discuss the possibility of taking Viagra with their doctor.

 

It’s known for its beneficial effects in the bedroom, and now a new study suggests that Viagra could also help men to live longer (stock image)

WHAT IS VIAGRA? 

Viagra is a medicine used to treat erectile dysfunction. 

It increases blood flow to the penis to help men get an erection. At least two-thirds of men have improved erections after taking it.

Viagra is also sometimes used to treat pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the blood vessels that supply the lungs).

This medicine is available on prescription and can also be bought from most pharmacies. 

It comes as tablets that you swallow, chewable tablets, and as a liquid that you drink.

Source: NHS 

Impotence is often an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease in healthy men, and can be treated with two types of drugs.

Firstly, men can be offered an injection of alprostadil, which dilates the blood vessels so that the penis stiffens.

Alternatively, men may be offered PDE5 inhibitors, such as Viagra, which are taken orally and inhibit the enzyme phosphodiesterase5 (PDE5) in the penis, increasing blood and resulting in an erection.

PDE5 inhibitors such as Viagra decrease blood pressure, and were previously not recommended for men with coronary artery disease due to the risk of a heart attack.

However, in 2017, researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden showed that men who have previously had a heart attack tolerate PDE5 inhibitors well, and that it even prolongs life expectancy.

In this new follow-up study, the researchers analysed 18,500 men with stable coronary artery disease who were being treated for impotence – 16,500 of who were on Viagra, and 2,000 who received alprostadil.

The analysis revealed that men who received Viagra lived longer and had a lower risk of a new heart attack, heart failure, balloon dilation and bypass surgery than those who received alprostadil.

The analysis revealed that men who received Viagra lived longer and had a lower risk of a new heart attack, heart failure, balloon dilation and bypass surgery than those who received alprostadil

The analysis revealed that men who received Viagra lived longer and had a lower risk of a new heart attack, heart failure, balloon dilation and bypass surgery than those who received alprostadil

This effect appeared to be dose-dependent, with those given more frequent doses of Viagra at the lowest risk.

Dr Martin Holzmann, who led the study, explained: ‘This suggests that there’s a causal relationship, but a registry study can’t answer that question.

‘It is possible that those who received PDE5 inhibitors were healthier than those on alprostadil and therefore had a lower risk.

‘To ascertain whether it is the drug that reduces the risk, we would need to randomly assign patients to two groups, one that takes PDE5 and one that doesn’t.

‘The results we have now give us very good reason to embark on such a study.’

While the reason for the link remains unclear, the researchers hope the findings will encourage more men to consider taking Viagra.

Dr Hozmann added: ‘Potency problems are common in older men and now our study also shows that PDE5 inhibitors may protect against heart attack and prolong life.’

In the UK, Viagra is available on the NHS, as a private prescription, from a pharmacy or even online. 

WHAT IS CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE? 

Coronary artery disease occurs when the major blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients become damaged.

CAD affects more than 1.6million men and one million women in the UK, and a total of 15million adults in the US. 

It is usually due to plaque and inflammation.

When plaque builds up, it narrows the arteries, which decreases blood flow to the heart.

Over time this can cause angina, while a complete blockage can result in a heart attack.

Many people have no symptoms at first but as the plaque builds up they may notice chest pains or shortness of breath when exercising or stressed. 

Other causes of CAD include smoking, diabetes and an inactive lifestyle. 

It can be prevented by quitting smoking, controlling conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, staying active, eating well and managing stress. 

Drugs can help to lower cholesterol, while aspirin thins the blood to reduce the risk of clots.

In severe cases, stents can be put into the arteries to open them, while coronary bypass surgery creates a graft to bypass the blocked arteries using a vessel from another part of the body.

Coronary artery disease occurs when the major blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients become damaged (artist's impression)

Coronary artery disease occurs when the major blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients become damaged (artist’s impression)



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