heart disease and erectile dysfunction

Can Erectile Dysfunction be a Predictor of a Heart Attack?

Hey there Guys. Today I was hit by the headline “Healthy Heart = Healthy Hard-on” from Men’s Health magazine. While normally I take their articles with a grain of salt they do actually make an important point, one I want to talk about. Can erectile dysfunction be a predictor for a heart attack?

By far one of the most common reasons I see guys in the 40-50 age bracket is to ask about Viagra or other drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. Some guys are quite shy to ask, some quite up front, but for most blokes, difficulty with erections is an important symptom that should never be glossed over “to help save embarrassment”.

I believe that this is a true disservice to a man as problems with erections can be actually be a predictor to severe disease. As I mentioned in my post on erectile dysfunction, the penis is basically a hydraulic system; blood flows in through the artery to fill the penis and make it erect.  If there is any blockages in the artery the blood can’t flow in fast enough to make a firm, lasting erection.

How does erectile dysfunction predict a potential heart attack?

Interestingly the artery that supplies blood to the penis is almost the same size as the arteries that supply blood to the heart. If there is reduced blood flow to the penis it is also likely that there is reduced blood flow to the heart. That’s a significant risk factor for a heart attack. Other diseases like diabetes can also cause erectile dysfunction and diabetes can double the risk of heart attack as well.

I hope you can understand why doctors like myself become quite interested in complete health even if someone “just came to get a Viagra script”.

As it is the Men’s Health article goes on to say that regular exercise can help increase erection function, stronger orgasms and better sexual satisfaction. Certainly regular exercise, 30 minutes daily, can greatly improve blood lipids,  reduce the chance of diabetes, and may even reverse fatty deposits already present in arteries. All these benefits will not only help you have strong lasting erections but also increase your chance of being around in your old age to enjoy more of the same.

Food for thought yes?

Guys if you are having any sort of erectile dysfunction it’s worth seeing your doctor. As I’ve mentioned it can be an important sign of potential heart disease. Before your doctor reaches for the Viagra sample it might be a great time to get a comprehensive check up.

Yours in great health.

Dr George

 

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