Erectile dysfunction is significantly and independently associated with age, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and lack of physical activity, researchers report.
There was an especially high prevalence of erectile dysfunction among men with hypertension and diabetes, suggesting that screening for erectile dysfunction in these patients may be warranted.
The study was published in the February 2007 issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Hospital analysed data from 2 126 men who participated in the 2001-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Lifestyle as prevention
The recent development of effective oral medications to treat erectile dysfunction has raised awareness and furnished treatment options. However, lifestyle changes like increase of physical activity, stricter dietary control and other measures for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes may actually prevent decrease in erectile function.
Using data obtained from a computer-assisted self-interview in a private room, the authors found that 18.4% of men 20 years and older experienced erectile dysfunction, defined as "sometimes able" or "never able" to get and keep an erection. Demographic data, cardiovascular risk factors and levels of physical activity were extracted from the NHANES study.
"The association between erectile dysfunction and lack of physical activity suggests that lifestyle changes, especially increasing exercise levels, may be effective nonpharmacological treatments,” said investigator Elizabeth Selvin.
“The associations between erectile dysfunction and diabetes and other known cardiovascular risk factors should serve as powerful motivators for male patients for whom diet and lifestyle changes are needed to improve their cardiovascular risk profile,” she said. “These data suggest physical activity and other measures for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes may prevent decrease in erectile function." – (EurekAlert)
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