Heart death linked to impotence16th March 2010
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a major warning sign for heart disease, according to a new German study.
The finding linked ED with early death in a large number of cases, using a random process.
Lead author Michael Bohm, chairman of internal medicine at the University of Saarland in Germany, said that erectile dysfunction was something that should be addressed in patients' medical histories, since it could be a symptom of early atherosclerosis.
In the study, men who had both ED and cardiovascular disease were nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease, and twice as likely to have heart attacks.
They were also 1.1 and 1.2 times as likely to go to the hospital following a stroke or heart failure.
For the purposes of the study, the researchers tested 1, 549 male cardiovascular patients across 13 different countries.
Each patient was given a questionnaire in which they were asked about ED, then followed up after an average of five years.
55% of the men who filled out the initial questionnaire had ED.
After examining the questionnaires, the researchers found that patients who had ED tended to be older and had a much higher chance of hypertension, diabetes, and stroke.
Some subjects ended up dying, including 11.3% of the patients who reported having ED when the study began.
The researchers noticed a correlation between the severity of ED and the likelihood of death, and concluded that ED can be used as a way of identifying men whose atherosclerosis is severe.
Bohm said that ED was closely linked to plaque buildup in the heart, and that men with ED needed to be referred for a cardiology workup.
He said that men who had ED were often treated for impotence, but that their heart health was never addressed by doctors, and that ED should be regarded the way high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels both were.
Geoff Hackett, a consultant urologist from Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, said that medicals for over-40s should include questions about impotence.
He said that ED was a more significant risk factor than smoking for heart disease, but that GPs routinely failed to ask about it.
A UK Department of Health spokesperson said that some reports suggested a link between erectile dysfunction and heart disease, and that the Department of Health would keep the evidence under review.
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Title: Heart death linked to impotence
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 14397
Date Added: 16th Mar 2010