Friday, March 10, 2006

ED : predictor of heart disease

Recent evidence suggests a strong link between erectile dysfunction (ED) and atherosclerotic vascular disease. Researchers sought to predict heart disease occurrence by erectile dysfunction incidence.

Stress myocardial perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography (MPS) is a widely used noninvasive imaging modality that allows diagnosis of coronary heart disease and stratification of cardiovascular risk. Stress test results and patient characteristices were correlated with ED.

  • Patients with ED exhibited more severe heart disease and dysfunction of the left ventricle.
  • Patients with ED exercised for a shorter period of time and reached a lower maximal intensity level.
  • ED proved to be and independent predictor of severe heart disease.

The results suggest that questioning about sexual function may be a useful tool for stratifying risk in individuals with suspected coronary heart disease.

The Second Princeton Consensus on Sexual Dysfunction and Cardiac Risk has recently been released.

"Any asymptomatic man who presents with ED that does not have an obvious cause (e.g., trauma) should be screened for vascular disease and have blood glucose, lipids, and blood pressure measurements. Ideally, all patients at risk but asymptomatic for coronary disease should undergo an elective exercise electrocardiogram to facilitate risk stratification. Lifestyle intervention in ED, specifically weight loss and increased physical activity, particularly in patients with ED and concomitant cardiovascular disease, is literature-supported."

"The recognition of ED as a warning sign of silent vascular disease has led to the concept that a man with ED and no cardiac symptoms is a cardiac (or vascular) patient until proven otherwise."

Austrian researchers note a relationship between high blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid marker for heart disease, and erectile dysfunction. The researchers found that 20 of the 30 patients with erectile dysfunction they studied also had high homocysteine levels. "We also found that men with erectile dysfunction have higher levels of C-reactive protein [another blood marker for heart disease risk]."

"Don't just write erectile dysfunction off as being tired or being stressed."

What a perfect early warning sign! As we know, some individuals never feel "normal" chest discomfort and many, unfortunately, experience cardiac arrest as a first symptom. Now, men have a real canary in a coal mine right on their persons.

But, this is not just a story about men. Vasculogenic female sexual dysfunction may be related to atherosclerosis as indicated in this study. So, the ladies should also be alerted to changes in sexual function.

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