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Is Your ED a Symptom of Heart Disease, Diabetes, or Another Condition?

concerned manIt has long been reported that statistics regarding erectile dysfunction are inaccurate due to the amount of cases believed to go unreported because of the stigma and embarrassment associated with impotence. Evidence is mounting that not speaking to a doctor about ED could mean having a serious disease go untreated as ED may be an early indicator of several serious conditions.

ED and Diabetes

Various studies have led to the conclusion that erectile dysfunction may be an early sign of type 2 diabetes. It was reported in an abstract in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2000 that diabetic men have a three times higher prevalence of erectile dysfunction than non-diabetic men. Another study performed by researchers at Lister Hospital, Stevenage, United Kingdom in 2001 found that the number of undiagnosed diabetes was higher in men with ED than in the general population. 

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Uncontrolled blood glucose levels in diabetes damages blood vessels and nerves which can restrict blood flow to the penis, therefore making it difficult to get or maintain an erection.  If you’re suffering from erectile dysfunction, it could be that your body is already experiencing the effects of this type of damage.

ED and Heart Disease

It has become standard practice for doctors to check men presenting with ED for heart issues. The reason for this is the connection between ED and heart disease. The same hardening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) found in heart disease reduces blood flow to the penis which can make getting an erection difficult.

A study conducted in 2005 at the Department of Urology and Andrology in Donauspital, Vienna, Austria concluded that moderate to severe erectile dysfunction was associated with a considerably higher risk for coronary heart disease or stroke within 10 years. A 2006 study published in the European Heart Journal from the European Cardiology Society found that symptoms of ED were present an average of three years before the symptoms of coronary artery disease in those studied.

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If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, speak to your doctor about your risk of heart disease and stroke.

ED and Hypertension

Understanding the link between ED and hypertension could help you identify high blood pressure early on. When your blood pressure remains elevated for extended periods of time, as it does in a person who suffers from hypertension, the blood vessels get damaged. This damage can interfere with the blood flow needed to help you achieve and maintain and erection, making you unable to have sex.

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Results of a study performed at the Department of Physiology, Georgia Health Sciences University, in Augusta, Georgia indicate that approximately thirty percent of men with hypertension report erectile dysfunction.

Regular monitoring of your blood pressure along with healthier lifestyle such as reducing your sodium intake and maintaining a healthy weight can help you keep your blood pressure down and improve ED.

Speaking to Your Doctor about ED

It may not be easy to bring up your issues with erectile dysfunction, but not doing so could have serious consequences. By speaking to your doctor about your ED, they will be able to order the tests needed to help determine whether a serious disease could be the cause. With more than 20 million men in the United States alone said to be suffering from ED, you can rest assured that you are not alone. Speaking to your doctor about it could prevent serious health issues and even save your life.

Article resources
  • Dey, J., Shepherd, MD. (March 2002). Evaluation and Treatment of ErectileDysfunction in Men with Diabetes Mellitus. In The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Retrieved on April. 28, 2013, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11888032.
  • Sairam, K. (July 2001). Prevalence of Undiagnosed Diabetes Mellitus in Male Erectile Dysfunction. In The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Retrieved on April 28, 2013, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11446849.
  • Ponholzer, A. (September 2005). Is Erectile Dysfunction an Indicator for Increased Risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke. In The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Retrieved on April 28, 2013, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15998563.
  • Montorsi P, Ravagnani PM, Galli S. (2006).  Association between Erectile Dysfunction and Coronary Artery Disease. Role of coronary clinical presentation and extent of coronary vessels involvement: The COBRA trial. In European Heart Journal – European Society of Cardiology. Retrievedon April 28, 2013, from eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/27/22/2632.full.pdf.
  • Nunes, KP, (March 2012). New Insights into Hypertension-Associated Erectile Dysfunction. In The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Retrieved on April 28, 2013, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22240443

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