Heart conditions may also affect a man's sex life as researchers have found that men with certain heart conditions are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction than men who do not have early-stage vascular disease.
"Erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease commonly coexist," said lead author David Feldman from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
"Erectile function can be a window into men's cardiovascular and overall health," Feldman added.
For the study, researchers studied 1,862 men without existing heart disease and assessed the relationship between early atherosclerotic plaque development and arterial stiffness and dysfunction with their subsequent self-reporting of erectile dysfunction.
After considering age, race, sex and traditional risk factors -- such as diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol and obesity -- men with abnormalities of both atherosclerosis, when plaque builds up inside arteries, as well arterial stiffness and dysfunction were 53 percent more likely to later self-report erectile dysfunction.
To improve long-term erectile function and reduce the risk for worsening cardiovascular health, at-risk men should eat a heart-healthy diet, engage in physical activity and avoid smoking, Feldman said.
The findings were presented at the American Heart Association 2014 Scientific Sessions in Chicago.