There’s bad news for men who have cardiovascular/heart risk factors—high blood pressure, obesity, smoking habit, high cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle, and diabetes. These heart risk factors all can affect erectile function. But if you treat these risk factors with lifestyle changes and/or medication, not only will you reduce your risk of coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis, and stroke; you will also improve erectile dysfunction and sexual health.
Although not every man who has cardiovascular risk factors also has erectile dysfunction, impotence is a common problem in this population of men. In fact, erectile dysfunction is a known risk factor for and predictor of heart disease, and has even been called the number one risk factor for heart disease and cardiovascular disease, according to a recent report.
Thus the findings of this latest study could mean a significant improvement for a great number of men, both in the bedroom and out. The announcement comes from the results of a meta-analysis appearing in Archives of Internal Medicine. The six-study meta-analysis was conducted under the guidance of Bhanu P. Gupta, MD, and colleagues, with the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
The reviewed trials involved 740 participants from four different countries, and they were designed to evaluate the effects of medication and lifestyle modifications of cardiovascular risk factors on erectile dysfunction. Without exception, all the studies came to the same conclusion: both lifestyle changes and medication use resulted in a significant improvement in sexual function.
However, this review was the first meta-analysis ever to systematically assess the effect of lifestyle changes and cardiovascular risk factor reductions in erectile dysfunction. According to the reviewers, the results “add to and strengthen existing knowledge that healthy dietary habits and increased physical activity are important components of health to improve quality of life in men by improving sexual health.”
Healthcare experts are hoping these findings motivate patients to make positive changes in their lifestyle. In a commentary published in the same issue of the Archives, Militza Moreno, MD, and Thomas A. Pearson, MD, MPH, PhD, both from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, said that “these new association between healthy lifestyles and reducing incidence of stroke, congestive heart failure, and ED can additional powerful persuaders,” and added that “we should renew our efforts to help patients add life to the years, as well as years to life.”
Read more in our Erectile Dysfunction Health Center.
Gupta BP et al. The effect of lifestyle modification and cardiovascular risk factor reduction on erectile dysfunction. Archives of Internal Medicine 2011 Nov 14; 171(20): 1797-803
Menezes A et al. Erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease. Postgrad Med 2011 May; 123(3): 7-16
Moreno M, Pearson TA. The quality of lifestyle and the quality of life. Archives of Internal Medicine 2011 Nov 14; 171(20): 189-20