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.
They found a twofold increase in risk for metabolic syndrome among men of a healthy bodyweight with erectile dysfunction, it said.
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.