Erectile dysfunction common, linked with severity of heart disease

Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects approximately one in five American men, appears to be associated with cardiovascular and other chronic diseases and may predict severity and a poor prognosis among those with heart disease, according to three studies in the January 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New medications for ED, introduced in 1998, prompted a 50 percent increase in physician visits related to the condition from 1996 to 2000, according to background information in one of the articles. Most previous estimates of the impact of ED have either excluded some men based on age, ethnicity or profession or were compiled before these medications became available. This led the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Panel on Impotence to call for national epidemiological data to provide information about prevalence and risk factors for ED, the authors write.

Christopher S. Saigal, M.D., M.P.H., The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, and colleagues at the Urologic Diseases in America Project analyzed data from the 2001-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examinational Survey (NHANES). A total of 2,126 men age 20 years and older responded to the survey, answered questions about sexual function and underwent a physical examination. Men who said they were sometimes or never able to maintain an erection adequate for sexual intercourse were defined as having ED.

According to that definition, overall prevalence of ED was 18.4 percent, the authors report. ED occurred more often as men aged, affecting 6.5 percent of men aged 20 to 29 years and 77.5 of those aged 75 years and older. When considering other factors that might contribute to ED, including age and other medical conditions, Hispanic men had almost twice the risk of ED as white men. Obesity, hypertension, smoking and diabetes also were associated with risk of ED. "Mitigation of these risk factors may ameliorate the

Contact: Rachel Champeau
JAMA and Archives Journals

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