Five years ago, large population studies showed that erectile dysfunction (ED) was linked to cardiovascular disease, particularly in men younger than 60. Typically, ED preceded angina (heart-related chest pain) by two to three years, and heart attack by three to five years. This finding is important because it allows men with ED to change their lifestyle and possibly increase longevity.
A review of literature from scientists at the Heart Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles concluded that men with ED could alter cardiovascular risk by following a rigorous program of lifestyle modification that includes improved diet, increased physical activity, reduced stress, and smoking cessation. Men with ED and blood sugar regulation problems (i.e., type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance) should be treated with a combination of lifestyle modification and medication. Some men might also experience improved metabolic health through hormone replacement therapy. (Circulation, 123: 98-101, 2011)