Men Are At Risk Of Heart Attacks By Ignoring This Symptom

A staggering 4.3 million people are thought to experience this – but the stigma is still strong.
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While it may be embarrassing for some, erectile dysfunction (ED) – characterised by an inability to get or maintain an erection – is incredibly common and around 4.3 million men are thought to experience it.

However, due to internalised stigma, many men are reluctant to visit their doctors about the problem – despite the NHS advising to do so if it keeps happening.

In fact, a survey by TRTed and The Urology Foundation revealed that almost half of men (46%) would not book an appointment to speak to their doctor about this condition.

Perhaps more worryingly, lots of men didn’t know that erectile dysfunction can be an indicator of more serious health conditions.

Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of heart problems

While we almost always associate erectile dysfunction with bedroom performance, it can be a sign of heart issues – and is a fairly unknown one, if this research is anything to go by.

In fact, a staggering 78% of respondents were not aware that erectile dysfunction is a recognised sign of heart disease – a condition which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

One of the first stages of heart disease is something called endothelial dysfunction, where the blood vessels can’t dilate properly – and this often affects the blood vessels of the penis first.

“Erectile dysfunction is often a hint of underlying heart disease,” Dr Michael Blaha, a heart health expert, told John Hopkins Medicine.

Potentially life-saving treatments are being missed because men are too ashamed to see their doctors or simply don’t know they should be seeing their doctor for this.

People tend to think it’s ‘just a sign of ageing’

It turns out that a lot of people are under the impression that erectile dysfunction is just a normal sign of ageing, with 63% of respondents admitting this.

While many of the respondents indicated they’d likely try to take over-the-counter medication or look to the internet for guidance on how to treat the condition, experts recommend speaking to medical professionals if you’re struggling with erectile dysfunction.

That’s because as well as being a sign of potential heart issues, erectile dysfunction has also been linked to mental health issues.

Men with erectile dysfunction are more likely to experience depression compared to men without the condition.

We need to talk more openly about erectile dysfunction to eliminate the stigma

“As a society, we need to break down the stigma associated with erectile dysfunction and open up conversations,” says Rebecca Porta, chief executive of The Urology Foundation.

“Erectile dysfunction can have a big impact on someone’s mental health, especially in cases where it impacts fertility and intimacy.”

Professor Albert Ferro, specialist in cardiovascular clinical pharmacology at King’s College, added: “In recent years, it has been increasingly recognised that ED can be an early manifestation of cardiovascular disease.

“The findings highlight that more work needs to be done to raise public awareness of ED and to encourage affected individuals to seek early medical attention no matter their age so that further tests can be done.”