Healthy Heart Equals Healthy Sex Life?

In the office, I often feel like I’m beating my head against a brick wall with some guys.  They are in their 40s or 50s and they smoke, they’re overweight, they eat crap and don’t exercise.  They don’t care that they are increased risk for a heart attack, diabetes and stroke.

Maybe I should start telling them they won’t be able to get an erection…

Don’t laugh.  There was a study published last month that suggested that erectile dysfunction is more likely to develop in men with lower cardiovascular health.  Keeping your heart healthy means you’re more likely to have a healthy sex life.

This study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, followed over 1000 men for 10 years, starting in their early 60s.  They were assessed for cardiovascular health using 7 metrics:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes / high blood sugar
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle

The researchers followed these men for 10 years to see how having these risk factors affected their chances of developing erectile dysfunction.

Now, we already know that erectile dysfunction is considered a marker of cardiovascular disease.  In order for the penis to become properly erect for intercourse, there has to be good blood flow to the tissues.  Atherosclerosis, the development of blockages to blood flow, interferes with the function of the tissues of the penis.

The researchers found that the higher (or more unhealthy) each man’s cardiovascular health score was at the beginning of the study, the more likely he was to develop erectile dysfunction by the end of the study.  In fact, the risk of erectile dysfunction ranged from 15% in the healthiest men to 100% in the unhealthiest.

So if the risk of a heart attack or stroke isn’t enough to make you (or your mate) get serious about quitting smoking, eating healthy, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and controlling blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, here’s one more reason.

Poor cardiovascular health can make you unable to have sex.

Now THAT’S a motivator!

QUESTION: Are you surprised about these findings?