Controlling cardiovascular risk improves erectile dysfunction

Controlling cardiovascular risk improves erectile dysfunction
Arch Intern Med 2011; doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.440 [PubMed ® Abstract]
Controlling cardiovascular risk by adopting a healthier lifestyle or taking lipid lowering drugs has important fringe benefits for men with erectile dysfunction, say researchers. Both types of intervention improved the sex lives of men with erectile problems in a meta-analysis of six randomised trials. Eating better, exercising more, losing weight, or taking a statin improved symptom scores by 2.66 points (95% CI 1.86 to 3.47) more than control interventions, a statistically significant difference that is likely to be most noticeable to men with mild erectile dysfunction, say the researchers. All trials used the international index of erectile dysfunction-5, which runs from a minimum of 5 points (worst symptoms) to a maximum of 25 points (no symptoms). Lifestyle interventions improved symptoms by 2.4 points (from 1.19 to 3.61), and in a separate meta-analysis atorvastatin improved symptoms by 3.07 (1.84 to 4.30). The trials were mostly short term but reasonably well done. All results went in the same direction.

The link between cardiovascular risk and erectile dysfunction is well known, says a linked editorial (doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.442), and doctors could do more to exploit it. Erectile dysfunction is a dreaded complication of ageing for many men and a leading cause of impaired quality of life. The prospect of better sex may be a more powerful motivator for lifestyle change than vague predictions about heart disease and strokes.

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