Erectile Trouble May Foreshadow Heart Disease
A number of studies conducted in Europe found strongconnections between erectile dysfunction (ED) and heartdisease. Researchers noted a relationship between ED andhigh blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid marker forheart disease. They found that, of 30 patients with ED, 20also had high homocysteine levels. They suggest thatadding folic acid, in combination with vitamins B6 and B12, toa patient's diet can help reduce homocysteine levels.
Another study attempted to find more relationshipsbetween heart disease and ED. In this study, of 162 menwith heart disease, 46% also had ED. Among patients withchronic angina, 71% experienced ED for a little over a yearbefore being diagnosed with heart disease.
Factors most predictive of ED include being older, priorheart attack, and a diagnosis of 2 or 3 blocked coronaryarteries. Patients with prior heart attack plus ED were 6times more likely to have several blocked coronary arteries,the researchers noted. They also noted that "erectile dysfunctionis probably a marker for cardiovascular disease," and they urged patients with erectile problems to getchecked early for possible cardiovascular disease, especiallyif the ED persists for 3 to 6 months.