Erectile dysfunction, heart disease linked

May 20, 2010 at 10:10 PM
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LONDON, May 20 (UPI) -- Men with erectile dysfunction should be checked for early signs of coronary artery disease, a British researcher and international team warn.

Dr. Graham Jackson, a London cardiologist and chairman of the Sexual Advice Association, and 11 colleagues from Britain, Italy, Greece and the United States conducted a review of more than 100 studies on the links between erectile dysfunction and coronary artery disease.

The review, scheduled to be published in the June issue of International Journal of Clinical Practice, shows men with erectile dysfunction often develop coronary symptoms within two to three years of impotence.

The review also finds that erectile dysfunction in otherwise healthy men and those with type 2 diabetes may be linked to reduced blood flow and calcification of the arteries -- early signs of coronary artery disease.

"It has been suggested that because the arteries supplying the penis are smaller than those supplying the heart, they will be affected by reduced blood flow -- a major cause of erectile dysfunction -- before the symptoms of coronary artery disease develop," Jackson says in a statement. "This theory may underpin the findings that men with erectile dysfunction seldom report overt symptoms of coronary artery disease, but those with coronary artery disease often report pre-existing erectile dysfunction symptoms."

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