Men suffering from erectile dysfunction are at greater risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, a new study has said.
Australian experts have found that men aged 20 years and older diagnosed with erectile dysfunction had more than double the incidence of cardiovascular events than those with normal sexual ability.
After the first incident of erectile dysfunction in men aged 55 and older, 2 percent had a major stroke or heart attack within a year and 11 percent within five years, according to an analysis by Melbourne researchers published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
The risk of a cardiovascular event after developing erectile dysfunction was similar to that of being a current smoker, said the researchers, Carol Holden and Carolyn Allan, of Andrology Australia, and Robert McLachlan, of Melbourne's Prince Henry's Institute.
The risk was much greater in younger men and declined with age.
Experts warned that the failure of men to seek advice on erectile dysfunction meant they "may be missing a vital warning of impending cardiovascular disease", The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
In diabetic men, some studies estimate the prevalence of erectile dysfunction is as high as 89 percent.
Erectile dysfunction may be a symptom with undiagnosed diabetes, the researchers said and suggested the condition should be discussed with men suffering from the disease.