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The Link Between Heart Disease and ED

More in Common than You May Think
By DuPage Medical Group Urology

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) occurs when a man is unable to get or keep an erection. It is not uncommon for men who develop ED to experience feelings of shame or embarrassment, and as a result, delay seeking treatment. Usually, the primary concern for men with ED is on the impact it has on their sex life, however, it can also be a warning sign of heart disease.

The correlation between heart disease and ED is blood supply and blood flow. Some heart conditions may cause inadequate blood supply to the heart, which then reduces the blood flow to the penis, making an erection difficult.

The link between the two conditions is also seen in the number of risk factors they share including:

Alcohol & Tobacco Use

Smoking and alcohol consumption increases your risk of developing heart disease, elevating blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and can impair a man’s ability to achieve an erection. 


ED is more common in men over the age of 75. When it develops in younger men, especially in those under the age of 50, is more likely to be caused by other underlying factors like heart disease.

Being Overweight

Carrying excess weight can increase your risk of developing many other risk factors including diabetes, high blood pressure and increased cholesterol levels.


Men with diabetes are considered at high risk to develop heart disease and ED. In fact, approximately 35-50% of men with diabetes will develop ED.

High Blood Pressure & Cholesterol

Elevated cholesterol, especially low-density lipoproteins (LDL) levels, or high blood pressure can damage arteries, negatively impact your heart’s ability to function properly over time, and lead to heart disease. Certain blood pressure medications may also impact sexual function.

Low Testosterone

Men with chronic low testosterone levels are more likely to develop ED and heart disease than those within the normal range.

There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of developing both ED and heart disease. Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight, monitoring your blood pressure and cholesterol, limiting alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking are all ways you can take control of your health.

ED does not automatically mean there is a heart problem; it can be caused by a variety of other factors, however, it is strongly recommended that men be screened for heart disease before starting any treatment for ED. If you are experiencing symptoms of ED, speak with your primary care provider to determine whether you may be at risk for heart disease. There are several treatment options available for ED, and our board-certified Urologists will work with you to develop a safe, comprehensive treatment plan, tailored to your overall health and individual needs.

To learn more, or to schedule an appointment with an Urologist who specialize in the treatment of men’s health conditions, including ED, call 630-790-1221 or visit dupagemedicalgroup.com/mens-health-clinic/.

Topics and Subtopics: General Health & Men's Health

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