Erectile dysfunction, a problem few men discuss with their physicians, can be an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease. Risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking are the same as those associated with impotence. It is estimated that Erectile dysfunction affects 40 million men, yet just 10 percent seek treatment, partly because patients never tell and doctors never ask. ED is one symptom of early vascular disease.
Some men care more about ED than about heart attack or stroke. One study showed that 57 percent of men who had bypass surgery also experienced ED. Doctors said anti-impotence drugs, which include Viagra, are safe for people with heart disease and may be beneficial for some conditions, like pulmonary hypertension. The only lifestyle modification men suffering from ED can make is to increase physical activity. Studies suggested that quitting cigarette smoking may also help.