Impotence May Be Early Warning
Dr. Marc Pritzker says erectile dysfunction may be "another marker for heart disease." Thirty percent of men with erectile dysfunction have vascular roots, meaning the problem could help identify men at risk of stroke or heart attack.
Pritzker studied the cases of 50 men with erectile dysfunction who went to their doctor to get the impotence drug, Viagra. None of the 50 had symptoms of heart disease, but a closer look revealed that 20 had sizeable blockages in arteries leading to their hearts. Further tests found heart trouble in eight more of the men.
Pritzker says hardening of the arteries -- atherosclerosis -- may manifest itself in the narrow blood vessels supplying the penis before showing up in larger arteries. With this earlier warning sign, Pritzker says doctors can treat several reversible risk factors.
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