Erectile Dysfunction: A Potential Indicator of Heart Disease

Tariq Hakky Urologist Atlanta, GA

Dr. Tariq Hakky is a Urologist practicing in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Hakky specializes in diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system. This includes areas of the bladder, urethra, kidneys, penis, and prostate. Urology is a surgical specialty and requires knowledge in other areas of expertise such as gynecology... more

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Most people know that preventing and/or treating heart disease can help one live longer. At the very least, it can prevent a heart attack. Risk factors for heart disease include diabetes, drinking alcohol to excess, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and smoking. The above conditions can cause plaque buildup in the arteries, causing them to narrow and stiffen, and decreasing blood flow to the heart. This can potentially cause a heart attack

Erectile Dysfunction

Did you know that men with erectile dysfunction may also have heart disease? That's right! The risk factors for erectile dysfunction are the same as the risk factors for heart disease. In the same way that the body forms narrowing plaques in the arteries of men with heart disease, it also narrows the arteries to the penis and causes men to experience weakening of erections. In fact, men with erectile dysfunction are 50% more likely to be at risk of heart disease.

Signs of erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign that a heart attack is on the horizon. This is because the penile arteries are smaller than the arteries of the heart, and are therefore more likely to get clogged faster than the heart’s arteries. This sends warning signals ahead of time that the body is at risk of suffering from a heart attack. Think of your penis as being the canary sent down the mine shaft - it’s an early indicator of what may come. 

Reduce Risk Factors 

So, what does this mean? Aside from taking measures to reduce risk factors for heart disease and erectile dysfunction, if you have erectile dysfunction, you should be seen by a physician. Not only will you receive treatment for your erectile dysfunction, but you may also lower your future risk of heart disease and a heart attack. Think of it as killing two birds with one stone.