Erectile Dysfunction and Cardiovascular Disease

Guides ● January 2019

In 30 Seconds

  • There’s estimated to be 150 million men worldwide and increasing to over 300 million by 2025 suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED). If you’re one of them, then go and get checked out by your GP.
  • There’s a direct link between ED and cardiovascular disease in 80% of cases. The more severe your ED, the more severe the cardiovascular disease could be. So don’t hesitate to speak to your GP
  • Research has shown that men with ED have a 25-45% higher chance of a cardiac event. This includes a heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest, and sudden cardiac death.
  • The British Society for Sexual Medicine Guidelines on the Management of Erectile Dysfunction in Men (2017) recommend that all patients with erectile dysfunction are screened for cardiovascular disease.

Who doesn’t want to optimise their erection? Going from flop to formidable shouldn’t be rocket science, but sometimes getting hard can be… well, hard. First of all, don’t panic. It’s very common and there can be a variety of causes – from those extra pints you had last night to work stress or the medication you’re taking.

There’s estimated to be 150 million men worldwide (and increasing to over 300 million by 2025) suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED). Most importantly, go and get checked out by your GP. Trust us, he/she has seen it all before. Not only can your GP advise on solutions – they’ll also be able to rule out more worrying conditions associated with ED.

Did you know? There’s a direct link between ED and cardiovascular disease in a lot of cases.1 The more severe your ED, the more severe the cardiovascular disease could be. So don’t hesitate to speak to your GP.

There’s estimated to be 150 million men worldwide (and increasing to over 300 million by 2025) suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED). Most importantly, go and get checked out by your GP. Trust us, he/she has seen it all before. Not only can your GP advise on solutions – they’ll also be able to rule out more worrying conditions associated with ED.

ED and Cardiovascular Disease: The Facts

  • Many studies have shown the connection between ED and cardiovascular disease.2 If a man has ED, he should be evaluated for heart disease.
  • Seeing as many of us are naturally reluctant to talk about sexual problems, men with cardiovascular disease are routinely asked about ED issues.3 No need to be shy though. This is your health. So talk to your GP.
  • Research has shown that men with ED have a 25-45% higher chance of a cardiac event. This includes a heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest, and sudden cardiac death.4
  • The British Society for Sexual Medicine Guidelines on the Management of Erectile Dysfunction in Men (2017) recommend that all patients with erectile dysfunction are screened for cardiovascular disease.5

ED: The Science Bit

First of all: Don’t panic. ED doesn’t always mean you might have heart trouble.6 There are many causes of ED including: low blood pressure, depression, neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, prescription medications, and hormone issues. ED may also be the first symptom in up to one fifth of men who have diabetes.7

That’s why you need to see your GP to get the cause ascertained. Then you can start fixing it.

But what is the relationship between ED and cardiovascular disease, science-wise?

“The lining of the blood vessels is responsible for regulating how the heart relaxes and contracts,” explains Dr Earim Chaudry. “When the lining malfunctions, it can result in heart disease because the blood is not flowing to the heart in the optimal way. Since an erection is dependent on blood flowing to the penis, ED can occur when the arteries leading to the penis malfunction. This can result in inadequate blood flow to the penis, which means an erection cannot be achieved or maintained.”

What Can I Do?

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. See your GP.
  3. Remember: ED and heart disease have many risk factors in common. These include smoking, drinking alcohol, high cholesterol and age.8

Low testosterone is also a risk factor for ED. Out of your control, right? Wrong. There are treatments for this and fixing it may help avoid some other issues. For example, there’s some evidence to show low testosterone may lead to higher cholesterol levels.9

The best things to do right now (after booking to see your GP. And being thankful for our free NHS – these appointments and tests are expensive in other countries!) are:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight or obese then talk to your GP or a nutritionist about losing weight.10
  • Stop smoking. Seek advice on how to quit. There are plenty of support groups and help on the NHS website.11
  • If you drink, then quit – or at least cut down drastically. Your heart (and your erection) will thank you for it.
  • Get your testosterone checked out. Then look into solutions.12
  • Get enough physical exercise.
  • Clean up your diet. A Mediterranean style of eating may help.13

 

Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight or obese then talk to your GP or a nutritionist about losing weight. Stop smoking. Seek advice on how to quit. There are plenty of support groups and help on the NHS website.

Facts are facts. See your GP. Get the relevant tests. Then get back to the yes yes yesss. Because good men deserve great sex.

You also may like