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Smokers more likely to experience impotence, Wake Forest study shows

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Men with high blood pressure who smoke are 26 times more likely to have erectile dysfunction --impotence -- than nonsmokers, John Spangler, M.D., M.P.H., of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center told the American Society of Hypertension today (Saturday, May 19,2001) in San Francisco.

Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is the inability of a man to achieve an erection or to complete intercourse, he said, and affects an estimated 30 million Americans.

"These data are the first to quantify a 26-fold increase in erectile dysfunction among primary care men with hypertension who also currently smoke, a rate that is also twice that of former smokers," said Spangler, associate professor of family and community medicine.

He said the study showed that former smokers among patients with high blood pressure are 11 times more likely to be impotent than non-smokers.

"Cigarette smoking, hypertension and erectile dysfunction are common disorders in primary care, and informing men who smoke of the exceptionally high possibility of developing erectile dysfunction may motivate many to quit their tobacco habit."

Spangler said that cigarette smoking and impotence had been linked previously by other investigators, including finding what doctors call a dose response relationship: the more cigarettes smoked per day the greater the chance of impotence.

But most of these earlier studies looked at a highly selective group of patients going to urology or cardiology clinics, he said. "This is the first study that looked at a primary care population and is more reflective of the general population."

Spangler said smoking has "both acute and chronic effects on erectile physiology." In both human and animal studies, smoking inhibits the ability to achieve a full erection.

Smoking also is known to accelerate atherosclerosis -- hardening of the arteries-- and when the blood vessels in the pelvis area are narr
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Contact: Jim Steele
jsteele@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4587
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
18-May-2001


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