Erectile dysfunction might well be the “canary in a coal mine” of men’s health, indicating that men need to “metaphorically evacuate” before they develop life-threatening disorders, said Arie Parnham, MD, from the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, United Kingdom.
More than half of all men 40 to 70 years of age have experienced erectile dysfunction — defined in EAU guidelines as “an inability to attain or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual performance” — according to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study.
Many of these men have multiple comorbidities, the most prevalent of which is coronary artery disease, Parnham explained during his presentation at the European Association of Urology 2020 Congress.
The link between erectile dysfunction and coronary artery disease was first made by Italian researchers in a 2003 study of 300 men with acute chest pain and angiographically documented coronary artery disease. The prevalence of erectile dysfunction in the study cohort was 49%, and in 70% of those men, the onset occurred in the 40 months preceding their diagnosis of coronary artery disease.
Then, a 44% increase in the risk for cardiovascular events, a 62% increase in the risk for myocardial infraction, and a 25% increase in the risk for all-cause mortality were seen in a 2013 systemic review of 14 studies — a pool of 92,757 men with erectile dysfunction — with a mean follow-up of 6.1 years.
“Younger people were at higher risk” the systemic review showed, said Parnham, which “highlights the importance of screening in this group.”
Source: Medscape, Erectile Dysfunctin: A Urologic ‘Canary in a Coal Mine’ by Ingrid Hein, July 21, 2020