increases impotence risk
Many of the same things that are bad for the heart are bad for
the sex life too, according to a study of impotence among middle-aged
In a study that followed 513 men for up to 10 years, those whose
lifestyles put them at risk for heart disease were also at higher
risk for erectile dysfunction (ED). Men who smoked, were overweight,
had high blood pressure, or ate fatty diets were more likely to
develop impotence. Dr. Henry A. Feldman and his colleagues at
New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts, report
the results in the current issue of Preventive Medicine.
well-known things that are bad for your heart are bad for sexual
function too," Feldman told Reuters Health.
Among the 93 men who were impotent by the study's end, smoking
-- both active and passive (exposure to tobacco smoke) -- was
a key risk factor. Men who currently smoked cigarettes or cigars,
and those exposed to passive cigarette smoke at home and work,
had twice the rate of impotence of other men.
you needed another reason to quit smoking," said Feldman, "this
Men with high blood pressure, already an established ED risk factor,
were about 80% more likely to develop impotence. The risk was
twice as high among overweight men, compared with those of normal
weight; impotence risk also climbed slightly as cholesterol intake
Impotence usually has a physical underlying cause, including any
disease that may impair blood flow to the penis. Because coronary
artery disease arises from hardening and narrowing in the vessels
that feed the heart, it is logical that heart disease and impotence
would share risk factors, according to Feldman. While cigarette
smoking has already been implicated in impotence, this study,
he said, is apparently the first to link ED to cigars and passive
exposure to cigarette smoke.
For healthy men, the implications of this study "cut both ways,"
according to Feldman. Heart-friendly lifestyle changes, he noted,
might do double-duty by warding off impotence; and impotence may
signal that "coronary heart disease is in store down the line."