Erectile Dysfunction and the Risk of Heart Disease

November 27, 2015

Television commercials for erectile enhancement products such as Viagra and Cialis may advise to "ask your doctor if you are healthy enough for sexual activity." What do they mean? 

Most likely, they mean that sex is a physical activity that may be beyond the physical abilities of some men. Most specifically, they most likely refer to the popular notion that sex can trigger heart attacks. Recent evidence would seem to suggest overall a low risk of heart attack with sexual activity.

That said, erectile dysfunction is a marker of cardiovascular disease. A recent study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that using erectile dysfunction as a screening tool may be reasonable in the secondary prevention of heart disease. 

At the 2015 annual meeting of the Sexual Medicine Society in Las Vegas, we met up with Martin Miner, MD, Co-Director of the Men's Health Center at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Miner is an internist who specializes in the general medical aspects of low testosterone and erectile dysfunction. He issues a very clear warning: erectile dysfunction is the "canary in the coal mine" and may indicate vascular disease. This is a message that should be heard by any man with erectile dysfunction and by doctors, nurses, and anyone else who helps such men to manage their health. Click the video below to hear more.



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