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Heart disease

Erectile Dysfunction Raises Red Flag for Heart Disease

Tuesday, September 09, 2008 by: Joanne Waldron
Tags: heart disease, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) A press release by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) reveals that erectile dysfunction may mean more than a troubled romance. According to two new studies of men with type-2 diabetes, erectile dysfunction is a very strong indicator of heart disease. Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) in May, the research makes clear the need for men with erectile dysfunction to not only get treatment to surmount their sexual difficulties but also for the related cardiovascular issues.

This is a matter to be taken seriously. "The development of erectile dysfunction should alert both patients and healthcare providers to the future risk of coronary heart disease," advised Peter Chun-Yip Tong, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Medicine & Therapeutics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong. "Other risk factors such as poor blood glucose control, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking and obesity should be reviewed and addressed aggressively," he added.

Men usually experience erectile dysfunction more than three years before coronary heart disease rears it head. Diabetes, erectile dysfunction, and heart disease are all related to damage of the blood vessels caused by high blood sugar levels. Men should be aware that if the blood flow required for maintaining an erection isn't happening, this could mean even more severe consequences for the heart.

In one Hong Kong-based study involving 2,306 men with type-2 diabetes, slightly more than one fourth of the subjects had erectile dysfunction at the start of the study, and none of the participants had any signs or history of heart disease, stroke or vascular disease. After four years, 123 of these men either experienced a heart attack, died from heart disease, developed chest pain caused by clogged arteries, or needed bypass surgery or a catheter procedure to restore blood flow to the heart. Men who had erectile dysfunction at the beginning of the study were much more likely to experience one of these coronary heart disease (CHD) events. A statistical analysis revealed that out of every 1,000 diabetic men with erectile dysfunction, 19.7 could be expected to experience a CHD event each year, as compared to only 9.5 of 1,000 diabetic men without erectile dysfunction. After a complete analysis of many other factors, the study concluded that erectile dysfunction is an early warning sign for heart disease and that it indicated a 58% increase in the risk for CHD.

In a second study based in Italy, researchers from four medical centers recruited 291 men who had both type-2 diabetes and silent CHD discovered by stress testing and confirmed by x-ray angiography. Of these subjects, 118 had erectile dysfunction at the beginning of the study. The study subjects were followed for four years with all instances of major adverse coronary events (MACE) documented. Results of the study indicated that those who had erectile dysfunction at the beginning of the study were twice as likely to experience a major adverse coronary event. This particular study also happened to conclude that taking a cholesterol-lowering statin drug reduced the risk for an adverse major coronary event by one third.

While many doctors may use this to try to push statins and other drugs on patients, there are many natural approaches that include dietary changes, quitting smoking, and exercise that can be tried to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and improve heart health without the awful side effects of medications. Unfortunately, guys who smoke cigarettes generally aren't "smokin' hot" in the boudoir due to the fact that smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease and the build-up of those fatty substances in the arteries that can lead to erectile dysfunction, according to an article by the American Heart Association. Concerning drugs that treat erectile dysfunction, pharmacist Suzy Cohen cautions in her nationally-syndicated column that sometimes the reason for erectile dysfunction is that men have too much estrogen in their cells which can't be solved by male enhancement pills. She jokingly compares using these pills in this situation to a guy jump-starting his car every two miles when he really needs a new battery!

Of course, there are certain side effects of traditional medications that guys should discuss with their doctors. For example, in her book The 24-Hour Pharmacist, an excellent read, Suzy Cohen notes that a decreased sex drive is a common side effect of many medications which include statin cholesterol drugs and almost all blood pressure medications. If the wifey is unhappy about the erectile dysfunction, she's just going to be thrilled about the lack of libido.

The good news is that there is no reason that a man in good physical condition can't enjoy sex at least into his nineties and experience passion hotter than a Pablo Neruda poem. In an article called "An Affair to Remember" featured at Slate.com by Melinda Henneberger, it is reported that an 82-year-old woman was caught orally pleasuring her 95-year-old boyfriend at an assisted living facility. Since both people suffered from a bit of dementia, the son of the older gentleman decided to remove his father from the facility to break up the torrid love affair. Afterward, the grieving woman lost twenty one pounds, was treated for depression and was then hospitalized for dehydration. Ain't love grand?

About the author

Joanne Waldron is a computer scientist with a passion for writing and sharing health-related news and information with others. She hosts the Naked Wellness: The Gentle Health Revolution forum, which is devoted to achieving radiant health, well-being, and longevity.


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