Beware! Impotence could wreck your heart
London: A significant proportion of men who suffer from impotence show early signs of coronary artery disease (CAD), warn experts.
A new study shows that such men will often develop coronary symptoms within two to three years and actually experience a heart attack within three to five years.
The study authors stress that clinicians stabilise cardiovascular function and control any symptom before even considering initiating any erectile dysfunction (ED) therapy.
Graham Jackson, a London-based cardiologist and chairman of Sexual Advice Association (SAA), teamed up with 11 experts from all over Britain, Italy, Greece and the US to analyse the findings of more than 100 studies on the links between ED and CAD.
They concluded that ED in otherwise healthy men and those with type-2 diabetes may be associated with early subclinical signs of CAD, including reduced blood flow and calcification of the arteries.
Men with ED generally exhibit more severe CAD and dysfunction in the left ventricle of the heart than those without ED and the severity of the ED may also be correlated with the severity of the CAD.
In around two-thirds of men, CAD is preceded by ED. The association in younger men aged between 40 and 69 is much clearer than in men over 70.
One study found that men aged between 30 and 39 with moderate to severe ED have a 14 percent higher risk of developing CAD within 10 years than men without CAD (4.9 percent and 4.3 percent respectively).
This figure rose to 27 percent in men aged 60 to 69 (21.1 percent and 16.6 percent respectively), said an SAA release.
"It has been suggested that because the arteries supplying the penis are smaller than those supplying the heart, they will be affected by reduced blood flow -- a major cause of ED -- before the symptoms of CAD develop," explains Jackson.
"This theory may underpin the findings that men with ED seldom report overt symptoms of CAD, but those with CAD often report pre-existing ED symptoms," Jackson said.
The findings are slated for publication in the June issue of the International Journal of Clinical Practice.