Men beware! Erectile dysfunction - inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse - in young men may be a cause for increased risk of early cardiovascular disease, a recent study warns.
According to researchers, in addition to health and quality of life for men, erectile dysfunction has long been associated with CV disease.
Risk factors for erectile dysfunction and CV disease are similar - including older age, smoking, obesity and diabetes, among others.
Dr Chukwuemeka Osondu from Baptist Health South Florida, Bryan Vo from Florida International University, Ehimen Aneni from Mount Sinai Medical Center and colleagues sought to establish erectile dysfunction as a simple and effective marker of underlying subclinical CV disease.
They hypothesized that measures of erectile dysfunction could be a simple effective CV disease risk stratification tool, particularly in young men who are less likely to undergo aggressive CVD risk assessment and management.
The team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 28 studies that examined the link between erectile dysfunction and measures of early CV disease.
The results suggested that a significant association of erectile dysfunction with impaired endothelial function (measured by brachial flow-mediated dilation using ultrasound), a marker of the ability of blood vessels to relax that is an early event in vascular disease development.
The authors reported that erectile dysfunction was associated with increased carotid intimal medial thickness (carotid IMT), an early manifestation of atherosclerosis.
The results for the association of erectile dysfunction and coronary artery calcium scoring were inconclusive due to small number of studies with limited sample size.
"Our study findings indicate that [young] men [with erectile dysfunction] are at greater risk of having identifiable subclinical CV disease and will benefit from an active CV disease work-up," they noted.
The research appears online first today in the journal Vascular Medicine.