THURSDAY, April 29, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Among men with erectile dysfunction, those who also have low testosterone levels face a higher than normal risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, a new study has found.
In a second study, the same team of researchers also found a link between obesity and impairment of blood flow to the penis, which, in turn, is linked to cardiovascular disease in erectile dysfunction patients.
In the first study, researchers led by Dr. Giovanni Corona, of the University of Florence, examined the testosterone levels of 1,687 men seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction. After an average follow-up period of 4.3 years, 137 of the men had had a heart attack or other major heart problem, and 15 had died.
Those who had lower levels of testosterone were the most likely to die of heart problems, the study authors found.
"Our work shows that screening for testosterone deficiency in men with erectile dysfunction may help clinicians identify those at higher risk from cardiovascular events," Corona said in a news release from the European Society of Endocrinology. "However, at the moment we can't say whether low testosterone levels are the cause or the consequence of this higher risk."
A second study looked at the same group of men and found a link between clinical obesity, which means a body-mass index of greater than 30, and reduced blood flow to the penis. This reduced blood flow was significantly related to an increased incidence of major cardiac events, such as heart attacks, in obese men but not in leaner men.
The findings were scheduled to be presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology, held April 24 to 28 in Prague, the Czech Republic.
For more about erectile dysfunction, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.