ROCHESTER, Minn., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Men who experience erectile dysfunction between the ages of 40 and 49 are twice as likely to develop heart disease, U.S. researchers say.
A study at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., finds that men with erectile dysfunction have an 80 percent higher risk of heart disease.
"The highest risk for coronary heart disease was in younger men," Jennifer St. Sauver says in a statement.
St. Sauver suggests that younger men and their doctors may need to consider erectile dysfunction a harbinger of future risk of coronary heart disease and take appropriate steps ward prevention.
The investigators identified 1,402 men who lived in Olmsted County, Minn., in 1996 who didn't have heart disease. Every two years for 10 years, the men were assessed for urological and sexual health.
The baseline prevalence of erectile dysfunction in study participants was: 2.4 percent in men aged 40-49; 5.6 percent in men aged 50-59; 17 percent in men aged 60-69 and 38.8 percent in men 70 years and older.
After more than 10 years of follow-up, the study found that men with erectile dysfunction were 80 percent more likely to develop coronary heart disease compared to men without erectile dysfunction.
The finding, published in The Mayo Clinic Proceedings, also found the highest risk of new heart disease was seen in the youngest study participants -- those age 40-49 -- who had erectile dysfunction.