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Curr Urol Rep. 2005 Nov;6(6):439-44.

Erectile dysfunction as a marker for vascular disease.

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  • 1The EpiCenter for Sexual Health & Medicine, 7455 France Avenue South, Suite 362, Edina, MN 55435, USA.


A body of evidence from basic science and clinical research is emerging to provide a compelling argument for endothelial dysfunction as a central etiologic factor in the development of atherosclerosis and systemic vascular diseases (hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, stroke, or claudication). Erectile dysfunction (ED) is another prevalent vascular disorder that, like cardiovascular disease, is now thought to be caused by endothelial dysfunction. In fact, a burgeoning literature is now available that suggests that ED may be an early marker for atherosclerosis, cardiovascular risk, and subclinical systemic vascular disease. The emerging awareness of ED as a barometer for vascular health and occult cardiovascular disease represents a unique opportunity for primary prevention of vascular disease in all men. Although the implications of this relationship for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease are not fully appreciated, the available literature makes a strong argument for the role of ED as an early marker for the development of significant cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease.

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