Erectile Dysfunction ‘increases the risk of early death by 70%’

coupleOften thought of as just an embarrassing and unwanted problem hindering the man’s performance in the bedroom, there could be something much more serious to erectile dysfunction than an inability to achieve or sustain an erection satisfactory for sexual intercourse.

A US study recently published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men who suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) have an estimated 70% higher chance of premature death.

The study, carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Mississippi, discovered that poor cardiovascular health is the most common cause of ED – a disorder which affects 18 million men in the US and half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 will have it to some degree.

Due to the findings, the researchers involved in the study are calling for men suffering with impotence problems to be screened and possibly treated for complications – such as cardiovascular disease – that may cause an early death.

Even though ED has long been associated as being an older man’s condition, the researchers say that almost 20% of men under the age of 40 are also afflicted with the problem too. Indeed, many of the males that have sought help from Medical Specialists® Pharmacy for ED have been of varying ages.

Erectile dysfunction has already previously been associated with cardiovascular disease risk factors such as type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidaemia, high blood pressure (hypertension), obesity and smoking.

Scientists said that a connection between erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular risk could exist because of endothelial cell dysfunction and impaired production of nitrous oxide.

For the study, researchers looked at 1,790 men between the ages of 20 to 85 who had been involved in the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They then compared and matched then data to death certificates from the National Death Index through December 21, 2011.

Whether or not men actually had ED was determined by the question: ‘How would you describe your ability to get and keep an erection adequate for satisfactory intercourse?’ and those men who answered ‘sometimes able’ or ‘never able’ were determined to have the disorder.

It was discovered that 557 of the 1,790 men had erectile dysfunction. Following an 8 year follow-up, researchers learned that 244 of the original group had died. From the 244 deaths, 61 were caused by cardiovascular disease, 64 from malignant neoplasms, 12 from chronic lower respiratory diseases and the remainder were from a different range of causes.

Results were then manipulated to take into account the men’s age, physical activity, race-ethnicity, waist circumference, poverty-to-income ratio, cotinine and comorbid illness.

It was determined that the survey participants who suffered with ED have a 70% higher risk of premature overall mortality.

The study said: ‘This finding should, however, be interpreted with caution as among the evaluated sample of 1,790 adults, only 61 adults between 20 to 49 years had erectile dysfunction, and among these 61 patients, only four died during the follow-up period.’

The scientists also said results could have been hindered by the self-report assessment of erectile dysfunction. On the flip side, they added that major strengths of the study were its novelty and utilisation of a national sample.

Further research is needed to see the long-term results over a longer follow-up period, the researchers concluded.

The study said: ‘These findings have major public health and clinical implications in that erectile dysfunction is a strong predictor of premature mortality.’

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