Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the consistent inability to obtain or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual activity. It is estimated that one in five men- or approximately 30 million American men- have ED. That amounts to over 30 million men.

It has been long known that medical conditions including hypertension, lipid disorders, diabetes and depression contribute to development of ED. Recent evidence suggests that ED may be the first sign of life-threatening conditions like coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. These conditions share some of the same risk factors with ED, including obesity, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol abuse, recreational drugs, and smoking.

Up to 56% of men with ED have silent coronary artery disease, and 20% will have an abnormal cardiac stress test. Most striking is that up to 15% of men with ED will have a heart attack or chest pain within seven years of being diagnosed with erectile difficulties. Furthermore, one study found that men were diagnosed with ED an average of 39 months before the onset of chest pain or angina, and therefore ED should be recognized as an independent predictor of eventual cardiovascular disease.

Treatments for ED are varied and include oral medicines like Viagra, penile injections, external pump devices, as well as an implantable penile prosthesis surgery. Most importantly, however persistent symptoms of ED should be regarded as an opportunity to have a thorough health evaluation.


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