Men with erectile dysfunction problems may face the risk of several underlying medical complications, including heart disease and diabetes, says a new study.
A team from the New England Research Institute in Massachusetts charted the health of 928 men aged 40 to 70 over 15 years and looked at markers for metabolic syndrome, a sign of heart disease and diabetes, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.
These markers include raised cholesterol, high blood sugar, blood pressure and obesity.
Impotence can occur for psychological reasons and also because clogged-up arteries affect the blood supply to the penis. The study has found the condition is an early warning of underlying medical problems - even in men of healthy weight not usually considered to be at risk.
Dr Graham Jackson, chairperson of the Sexual Dysfunction Association, said the findings were a wakeup call for doctors to investigate impotence in men who were not overweight.
"In this instance, erectile dysfunction can be a better warning signal (of heart disease) than a large beer belly," he said.