Professor Garry Jennings, director of the Heart Centre at the Alfred Hospital, has just returned from the congress. He said it had long been known that erectile dysfunction and heart disease can be triggered by common factors, including increasing age and diabetes. “But it hasn’t been looked at in that way (as an early indicator of heart disease) but it is not unreasonable to suggest we do so,” Professor Jennings said. The heart disease found in the men was treatable and in many cases the men’s erectile dysfunction disappeared when they quit smoking or reduced their cholesterol levels.
While none of the 50 men had symptoms of heart disease, 40 had at least one risk factor including smoking, elevated cholesterol or a family history of the disease. Dr. Pritzker said he did not want to suggest that heart disease was behind every case of impotence, but 30 to 50 percent of cases of erectile dysfunction were probably the result of blood-vessel disease.
Overweight men are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction than those of a healthy weight, a United States survey has found. And the news for Australians gets worse. According to a national study, half of all patients who visit their doctor are fat, one-third drink too much and a quarter smoke. Men with waistlines of more than 105 centimeters were twice as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction as men with waistlines of 81 centimeters, the US survey found. That has implications for marriages and relationships, says the Gutbuster program’s scientific director Garry Egger. Dr Egger said men who were overweight were more likely to experience self-esteem problems and sleep apnea. “If they don’t feel attractive they are less likely to initiate sex, and in some cases they could be suffering fatigue as a result of sleep apnea, which contributes to a lack of sex drive. So it creates a vicious cycle,” he said.