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A long-term study that followed 22,000 US men for 14 years found that smoking and obesity increased a man's likelihood of developing erectile dysfunction (ED). Obese men were 90% more likely to develop ED and smokers were 50% more likely. Men who exercised the most were 30% less likely than sedentary men to develop ED over a 14-year period. While once thought to be mostly psychological in nature, it has been shown that ED has many of the same risk factors as heart disease. Anything that impairs blood flow can have an effect on erectile function just as it would have on heart function. The coauthor of the study, Eric B. Rimm, ScD, Harvard University School of Public Health, suggested that this study may prompt men to make certain lifestyle changes. The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Urology.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.