Erectile dysfunction? Heart attack may follow

May 20th, 2008 - 12:45 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 20 (IANS) Much more than good sex might be at stake for those suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) - it could presage a future heart problem and even death, warns a new study. The study, based on research on patients with Type-2 diabetes, found that ED was a powerful early warning sign of serious heart disease, including heart attack and death.

Diabetes, ED and heart disease share an ominous link: damage to blood vessels by high blood sugar levels.

Thus, the process that hinders the extra blood flow needed to maintain an erection can have even more serious consequences for the heart.

It all probably begins with endothelial dysfunction - when the smoothness and reactivity of the blood vessel are damaged, according to Peter Chun-Yip Tong of Chinese University, Hong Kong, who led the study.

“This process encourages local inflammation on the inner surface of the blood vessels and the deposition of cholesterol, resulting in formation of clots and atherosclerosis. Therefore, there is a high risk of blockage of blood vessels in the heart, which can lead to a heart attack.”

Men typically show signs of ED more than three years before the onset of symptoms of coronary heart disease. In one study of diabetic men, symptoms of ED always preceded coronary symptoms.

The study underscores the importance of encouraging men to tell their physicians about the ED and of focussing treatment also on improving overall cardiovascular health.

The study also showed that among patients who were taking cholesterol-lowering statins, the risk of major adverse cardiac events (MACE) was reduced by one third.

Viagra and other medications in a family known as 5-phosphodiesterase (5PDE) inhibitors also appeared to reduce the MACE risk.

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