advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Does Impotence Lead to Heart Attacks?

I recently heard that impotence in men is a sign of heart problems. Is this true?

A
Answer (Published 1/12/2004)

Impotence (also called erectile dysfunction or ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection and may indicate increased risk for a heart attack. The association was uncovered in the course of a 19-year Mayo Clinic study involving approximately 2,000 men between the ages of 40 and 79 in Olmstead County, Minn. Results were reported on Nov. 11, 2003, at the annual conference of the American Heart Association.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Relationships - Getting older doesn't have to mean less intimacy. Learn how to treat erectile dysfunction naturally, get communication tips, and more. Start your 14-day free trial of the Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide today!

So far, researchers don't know how ED is related to heart attacks, but they did discover that men were 3 to 5 times more likely to report erectile dysfunction in 1996, the first time the investigators asked questions about sexual dysfunction, if they had survived heart attacks. (All of the heart attacks occurred between 1979 and 1995.)

Approximately five percent of 40-year-old men and between 15 to 25 percent of 65-year-old men experience ED. Although the incidence of ED increases with age, it is not an inevitable part of aging. The most common physical causes are reduced blood flow and nerve damage, which can result from diabetes, kidney disease, chronic alcoholism, tobacco addiction, multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis, vascular disease and neurological disease. Between 35 and 50 percent of men with diabetes also experience ED, and diabetes increases the risk of heart disease.

Based on the findings of the Mayo Clinic study, researchers concluded that erectile dysfunction did not have a true cause-effect relationship with heart attacks but was certainly a "marker" for them. In other words, ED should alert both patients and the doctors treating them to be on the lookout for cardiovascular risk factors or symptoms such as chest pain. Likewise, doctors may gain more insight into heart patients' risks by asking about sexual function.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here