A new study now finds that men who suffer from erectile dysfunction are twice as likely to have a heart attack, cardiac arrest or stroke.
Doctors have warned that trouble getting or keeping an erection should prompt men to immediately seek medical help.
ED, which can be triggered by high blood pressure and cholesterol, strikes one in ten men at some point in their lives.
Now, researchers claim that impotence is a better indicator of the world's leading killer than other risk factors, such as high cholesterol or blood pressure.
The findings, derived from nearly 2,000 men, back up an array of evidence in recent years that has shown a link between ED and heart disease.
But the results of the new study provide the strongest indication to date that it can be a tell-tale sign of a heightened cardiovascular risk.
The research was conducted by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
The study, published in the journal Circulation, found men with ED were nearly twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than other men.
Study author Dr Michael Blaha said that the results reveal that ED is, in and of itself, a potent predictor of cardiovascular risk.
He added that men seeking treatment and evaluation for ED should be a signal to conduct a comprehensive cardiovascular evaluation....