A study published in Circulation found that men whose impotence is vascular-related, not emotional, are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or sudden cardiac death.
“The magnitude of the effect was surprising to me,” said study author Michael Blaha, director of clinical research with the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease in Baltimore.
This was true even without other heart risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a history of smoking.
The link between impotence and heart disease appears to be “a two-way street,” Blaha said.
This is because men who have had a heart attack also appear to face a higher risk for ED.
Vascular impotence “is at its root a cardiovascular problem,” Blaha explained.
Unlike impotence related to anxiety or other psychological concerns, vascular ED stems from arterial blockage and insufficient blood flow.
“ED may be a sign of subclinical cardiovascular dysfunction,” said Blaha.
Blaha advised that doctors should aggressively manage other risks factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol in men with erectile dysfunction.