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Erectile Dysfunction May Be Harbinger of Heart Disease

The two conditions have similar predisposing factors and may be linked

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) may be more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than their peers without ED, according to a study in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Ian M. Thompson, M.D., of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and colleagues examined men aged 55 years or older who were enrolled in the placebo group of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial between 1994 and 2003.

The investigators found that of 9,457 men in the placebo group, 85% had no history of cardiovascular disease at baseline, and of these, 47% had ED. Of men without ED or cardiovascular disease at baseline, 57% experienced ED after five years. Those with ED were 1.25-1.45 times as likely to experience a cardiovascular event during the follow-up as men without ED.

"While a full cardiovascular evaluation is not necessary in response to findings of erectile dysfunction in asymptomatic patients, such findings should prompt diligent observation of at-risk men and reinforces the need for intervention for cardiovascular risk factors," the authors conclude.

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