This is from the Journal of the American Medical Association via a Johns Hopkins Health Alert. These are free and very useful. You can subscribe @

Erectile Dysfunction Linked to Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes

A study of nearly 4,000 men with an average age of 57 found that nearly half had experienced erectile dysfunction in the last month or were taking erectile dysfunction drugs. The development of erectile dysfunction was strongly related to the presence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes, probably because of their negative effects on blood vessel function.

The relationship between erectile dysfunction and CVD or diabetes was most pronounced among men age 40–49. In these men, the probability of having erectile dysfunction was 31% in the absence of either medical condition but rose to 52% in men with CVD alone and to 73% in those who had CVD and diabetes. The relationship between erectile dysfunction and CVD or diabetes was apparent in all age groups but declined with age.

The researchers also found a significant association between erectile dysfunction and undiagnosed diabetes or elevated glucose levels that put the men at risk for diabetes. Erectile dysfunction also correlated with the presence of the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of heart disease risk factors. This study was reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine (Volume 166, page 213).

  • Erectile Dysfunction May Signal Undiagnosed Heart Problems

Cardiovascular disease is known to increase the risk of erectile dysfunction. But a new study suggests that erectile dysfunction can also be an important warning sign of unsuspected heart disease.

The participants, all age 55 or older, were taken from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT), which tested the benefits of finasteride (Proscar) in preventing prostate cancer among nearly 19,000 men. The current study analyzed information on the 4,247 men in the placebo group who had no erectile dysfunction or cardiovascular disease at the outset of the PCPT. Five years later, 57% of them had developed erectile dysfunction. At seven years, the percentage had climbed to 65%. During the same follow-up period, men who developed erectile dysfunction were 25% more likely than men who did not have erectile dysfunction to experience some kind of cardiovascular event, such as angina, a heart attack, or a stroke.

As a cardiovascular risk factor, erectile dysfunction ranks with current smoking or a family history of heart attacks.