ED – Early Warning Sign
Erectile dysfunction is an important early warning sign for heart disease and diabetes, according to a new study by Australian doctors. But they say the link is not well understood by health practitioners or men, who are reluctant to seek medical advice for the condition.
An analysis by Melbourne researchers, published in the Medical Journal of Australia and reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, shows that men aged 20 years and older diagnosed with erectile dysfunction had more than double the incidence of cardiovascular events than those without the condition.
After the first significant episode of erectile dysfunction in men aged 55 and older, 2 per cent had a major stroke or heart attack within a year and 11 per cent within five years.
Risks Greatest in Young Men
The study authors, Carol Holden and Carolyn Allan, of Andrology Australia, and Robert McLachlan, of Melbourne’s Prince Henry’s Institute, said the risk of a cardiovascular event after developing erectile dysfunction was similar to that of being a current smoker. They said the risk was much greater in younger men and declined with age.
The researchers warned that the failure of men to seek advice on erectile dysfunction meant they ”may be missing a vital warning of impending cardiovascular disease”.
In men diagnosed with diabetes, some studies estimate the prevalence of erectile dysfunction is as high as 89 per cent.
ED May Be Symptom of Diabetes
The researchers said erectile dysfunction may be a symptom in men with undiagnosed diabetes, justifying glucose testing for men with the condition.
Conversely, they said erectile dysfunction should be discussed with men who have diabetes.
The researchers said men expressed high levels of concern about their reproductive health but many did not seek medical advice for conditions such as erectile dysfunction due to various factors that created ”barriers to discussion of sensitive and personal health concerns during medical consultations”.