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22 April 2018

This is how Viagra can help you live longer

Find out what the boost in the bedroom can do for your heart, too.

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Once you’ve had a heart attack, getting back your sex life can feel scary. But it might come with an important health benefit – especially if you use certain erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs to get there.

That’s because taking ED drugs like Viagra after a heart attack might protect your heart and cut your chances of dying prematurely, new research from Sweden suggests.

Read more: Why you shouldn’t take Viagra for ‘fun’

Researchers followed more than 43 000 men for three years who were hospitalised for a heart attack. Of these guys, 7% were prescribed meds for ED. The researchers discovered that men who were treated for ED were 40% less likely to be hospitalised for heart failure, and were 33% less likely to die of any cause during the follow up.

But then the scientists delved a little deeper into how the patients were treated for their ED, and a clearer picture emerged. It seemed that only men taking oral ED drugs called PDE5 inhibitors, such as Viagra or Cialis, had the longer-living benefit.

Men taking PDE5 inhibitors after their heart attack were 38% less likely to die during follow up than those not taking any ED medicine, or than those taking alprostadil, an injectable ED drug. In fact, there was no link between risk of early death and alprostadil use.

Read more: This breakthrough treatment is the Viagra of the future

That’s important, because otherwise, the link between premature death and ED treatment might be explained by sex itself – seeking treatment for ED might indicate a more active sex life, which could contribute to, or be a sign of, a more healthier lifestyle overall.

But the fact that the longevity benefit was seen just in guys taking PDE5 inhibitors seems to suggest that it may be something with how that specific class of drug works that’s protecting the heart. And the researchers have a few theories: PDE5 inhibitors may reduce the stiffness in your arteries, as well as allowing for more blood flow to your heart.

Read more: What to do if Viagra doesn’t work

Still, more research is needed to clarify the link, as well as to study whether having untreated ED, or an active sex life without taking ED meds, might have played a role.

In the meantime, guys who have had a heart attack can rest assured that taking ED meds like Viagra is likely a safe choice, the researchers said in a press release.

This article was originally published on  www.menshealth.com

Image credit: iStock   

 
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