In the ONTARGET study, men were randomly selected to take blood pressure-lowering drugs -- either the ACE inhibitor ramipril (Altace) or the angiotensin II receptor antagonist telmisartan (Micardis) or a combination of both. In the TRANSCEND trial, ACE inhibitor-intolerant patients were treated with Micardis or a placebo.
The researchers found men suffering from erectile dysfunction were more likely to have high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and lower urinary tract surgery, compared to men without erectile dysfunction.
Among those with erectile dysfunction, 11.3 percent died from any cause, compared with 5.6 percent of men with mild or no erectile dysfunction. In addition, 16.2 percent of the men with erectile dysfunction died from a cardiovascular problem, heart attack, stroke or were hospitalized for heart failure, compared with 10.3 percent of men with no or mild erectile dysfunction, the researchers reported.
Erectile dysfunction is linked to the endothelial dysfunction (problems with the cells that line the blood vessels) that occurs in atherosclerosis and the vascular disturbances such as the build-up of plaque that happens before heart attack and stroke, the study authors explained.
Men need to realize that erectile dysfunction is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease just as high blood pressure and cholesterol are, Bohm said in a statement: "If a man has erectile dysfunction, then he needs to ask his physician to check for other risk factors of cardiovascular disease."
This study provides further evidence that all physicians should include questions about erectile function as part of their office-based assessment of a patient's risk of future cardiovascular disease, Ward said.
"It is important that we make patients aware of implications of erectile dysfunction on their heart health so they freely discuss these sensitive issues with their
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