Erectile Dysfunction may Indicate Heart Disease

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Sep 25, 2014

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Quick Bites

  • Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of underlying medical conditions.
  • Studies suggest that it can be a warning of heart problems.
  • The build-up of plaque in the arteries limits blood circulation.
  • The hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis) puts your heart at risk.

Erectile dysfunction, a repeated inability to get or keep an erection for sexual intercourse, can also be an indication of an underlying medical condition. Studies suggest that it can be an early warning sign of heart problems.


erectile dysfunction


Atherosclerosis and Erectile Dysfunction

The hardening of arteries, sometimes referred to as Atherosclerosis, is marked by a build-up of plaque in the arteries of your body. The small arteries in the body, such as in the male genitalia, are the first to get plugged. As a result of plaque build-up, the blood flow to the penis is reduced and hence, the erection is difficult to achieve.

The sexual problem is a warning of atherosclerosis in larger arteries supplying blood to your heart and other organs. The hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis) also puts you at greater risk of aneurysm, stroke and peripheral artery disease.


Common Risk Factors

Erectile dysfunction and heart problems have the common disease process; the two conditions also share many risk factors. The following factors increase the likelihood of you suffering from atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Diabetes – Those with diabetes mellitus are at a high risk of erectile dysfunction, heart disease and other medical conditions associated with restricted blood flow.

High Cholesterol – A high level of low-density lipoprotein abbreviated to LDL or referred to as bad cholesterol, can lead to heart problems and erectile dysfunction.

Smoking Habit – You are more likely to develop atherosclerosis if you smoke. Also, smoking directly affects your ability to get an erection.

High Blood Pressure – High blood pressure can lead to several health complications over time, one of them is damage to the lining of your arteries and accelerating the process of atherosclerosis.

Heart Disease History – You are more likely to get erectile dysfunction if you have a sibling or parent who had heart disease at a young age.

Being Overweight – Being obese ups your risk of both heart disease and erectile dysfunction owing to the hardening of arteries.

Depression – There's scientific evidence to support that depression is related to an increased chance of having heart problems and erectile dysfunction.


healthy heart


What can be done?

If your health care provider suspects that you are at risk of heart disease, he/she will recommend making lifestyle changes. These include exercising, changing your diet or losing weight – all these factors contribute to keeping your heart healthy and improving your ability to have an erection.

When you have more-serious symptoms of heart disease, doctors will advise further tests or treatment. If you have both erectile dysfunction and heart disease, it is advised to discuss with your doctor the prospective treatment options for erectile dysfunction.


(Image source:Gettyimages)

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