Erectile dysfunction warns of early heart attack

October 22nd, 2008 - 2:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 22 (IANS) Erectile dysfunction is linked with heart attacks but it is being ignored by general practitioners, a doctor with Good Hope Hospital in Birmingham has warned.Dr Geoffrey Hackett reported regularly seeing patients referred with erectile dysfunction or ED after a heart attack, only to hear that they had developed erectile dysfunction two to three years before - a warning sign ignored by their general practitioners.

It is well known that ED (inability to achieve erection) doubles the risk of heart disease, a risk equivalent to being a moderate smoker or having an immediate family history of heart disease.

ED in type 2 diabetes has been shown to be a better predictor of the risk of heart disease than high blood pressure or high cholesterol, according to an Eurekalert release.

But despite this considerable evidence ED is still treated as a recreational or “lifestyle issue” rather than a predictor of a serious health problem, said Hackett.

The UK government has pledged to reduce the death rate from coronary heart disease and stroke and related diseases in people under 75 by at least 40 percent by 2010, yet there is no screening for erectile dysfunction in patients with diabetes or heart disease, he said.

The report was published in the British Medical Journal.

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