Erectile Dysfunction: A Warning of Impending Heart Disease

Medical • 15 Jan 2012


Erectile dysfunction: usually a warning of impending heart disease

Erectile dysfunction as bad as it known to be is not restricted to depriving men the pleasure that comes with sexual intercourse only. Studies showed that, for many men, it is frequently an early warning signal of impending circulatory problems like heart disease.

Achieving an erection can be liken to a hydraulic event from a mechanical perspective as it involves the inflow of blood into the penis region, sustain for a while before it is drained away. Any interference with this blood flow could inhibit the process of achieving an erection.

Atherosclerosis is one disease that restrains blood flow to the penis by clogging artery process.

The only way to prevent this occurrence is to ensure that cholesterol-filled plaque (atherosclerosis) do not accumulate inside arteries as it hinders blood flow from taking it free course ; a situation that give rise to cardiovascular conditions such as strokes, heart attacks and most angina (chest pain with stress or exercise).

Plaque-damage arteries that nourish other body parts apart from the penis do not result in erectile dysfunction. Only arteries that carry blood to the penis hinder getting or sustaining an erection when filled with plaque. Plaque-damage artery in the brain can cause dementia, memory loss or stroke.

According to a Harvard Medical School Special Health Report titled Erectile Dysfunction, the presence of atherosclerosis in arteries supplying blood to the penis will inhibit proper circulation of blood in that region and prevent starting or sustaining an erection.

It is no exaggeration attributing the chief cause of erectile dysfunction to blood vessel problems. ­

Medical editor of the above-mentioned report, Dr Michael P. O’Leary of Harvard, supported this position when he describe an erection as “a barometer for overall health” and called erectile dysfunction “an early warning sign” of health disorder in body parts like the heart.

Good enough, erectile dysfunction can be corrected. Its cure is not restricted to the use of drugs only; exercising more, losing weight, staying away from smoking and other simple lifestyle changes can help.

Erectile dysfunction drugs help some men to get over the problem. (The report covering these drugs has an excerpt you can read here.) Sex therapy and some devices can also help in this regard.

The full report is available at

The table of contents at this site guides readers to whichever aspect of the subject one is interested in.


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