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Erectile dysfunction: A possible warning sign of serious disease

Date:
February 6, 2012
Source:
Methodist Hospital, Houston
Summary:
Erectile dysfunction is a precursor to more serious health problems such as heart disease. Getting problems like diabetes under control are more important than your performance in the bedroom.

More than 12 million men have type 2 diabetes and that number is growing at an alarming rate. A little talked about complication of this disease is erectile dysfunction (ED), which can lead to an even more serious condition.

"Most men do not realize that ED is a warning sign of potential cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Timothy Boone, chairman of the department of urology at The Methodist Hospital in Houston. "As Valentine's Day draws near, many men will be worried about their sexual potency, but they should really be concerned about getting their disease process under control."

People with diabetes are at greater risk of developing atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. The condition is caused by a buildup of plaque on the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrition to the heart. This plaque can restrict blood flow and poor blood flow is the number one cause of ED.

"The blood vessels that carry blood flow to cause an erection are very small, so even the smallest amount of obstructing plaque will present itself as a loss of sexual potency," Boone said.

Boone said in the past, 90 percent of ED cases were thought to be psychological and 10 percent physical. He says the opposite is now true.

Nearly 80 percent of men around the world with diabetes develop ED, compared to nearly 25 percent of those who do not have the disease. ED normally occurs in men over age 65, but it tends to occur on average 10 to 15 years earlier for men with diabetes. Erectile dysfunction affects more than 300 million men worldwide between the ages of 40 and 70.

Boone urges men to refrain from purchasing male enhancement products from TV infomercials and the like because most are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are very expensive. He says men should consult with a urologist who can do a proper work up that includes a medical history and blood work to check for disorders like diabetes and low testosterone levels.

He adds once the cause of the underlying problem is determined, steps can be taken to get the condition under control and proper treatment to fix the ED problem with pills or injections can begin.

"If you don't take care of the causes of the problem, your ability to maintain an erection is going to be the least of your concerns," Boone said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Methodist Hospital, Houston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Methodist Hospital, Houston. "Erectile dysfunction: A possible warning sign of serious disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120206122322.htm>.
Methodist Hospital, Houston. (2012, February 6). Erectile dysfunction: A possible warning sign of serious disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120206122322.htm
Methodist Hospital, Houston. "Erectile dysfunction: A possible warning sign of serious disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120206122322.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

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