What is the relationship between heart problems and erection problems? The ships! They are the cause of these two types of affection. That is why you should not neglect erectile dysfunction: it can be an indicator of an undiagnosed coronary heart disease. This fact is now well established.
"Many studies have shown that erectile dysfunction can be an early marker of silent coronary heart disease in patients with cardiovascular risk factors (such as tobacco, hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity or sedentary lifestyle)), says Dr. Carol Burté, sexologist and andrologist in Draguignan, Cannes and Monaco. Detecting it can help prevent a cardiovascular event by taking measures to limit risk factors. "
A dangerous silence
Symmetrically related to the situation described above, many coronary patients, hypertension or heart failure suffer from erectile dysfunction. In silence, usually.
"If 20 to 40% of men aged 50 to 69 have a disability (occasional or persistent) to get or maintain an erection adequately, few dare to talk to their doctors." Professionals are also reluctant to question them about it ", regrets Dr. Burté. But talking about it is basically on two levels: to check cardiovascular function or, when a diagnosis of a vascular disorder has already been made, to prevent the person from receiving the right treatment.
"Many studies have shown that patients with cardiovascular problems such as hypertension tend to miss their treatment." Reason: when sexual disorders occur, they are often – wrongly – accused of taking drugs When they suspend their treatment, they run a high risk. "
In this context, the treatment of erectile dysfunction improves adherence and cardiovascular risk. When we talk about possible sexual problems with his doctor, the patient can be reassured about how medicines work and eventually solutions or guidance are offered to a trained practitioner in sexual medicine.
Viagra, good for the heart
For people who are still worried about the potential risks of Viagra, Dr. Burté a very clear message: "Viagra cannot cause coronary artery disease, remember that the drug's sexual effect was discovered by accident while being studied in coronary patients! Proof that this drug, beneficial to the heart, had the side effect of erection."
However, the specialist specifies: "However, there is a risk of Viagra interacting with certain treatments prescribed for angina pectoris. If necessary, other solutions for erectile dysfunction are proposed. "
Another topic that can worry the sick of the heart: can they engage in sexual activity? Unlike, again, the ideas accepted, one does not die from a heart attack while you make love (or very exceptionally).
"Sexual intercourse is equivalent, for the heart, to climb two floors without being out of breathsays Dr. Burté. Sexual activity is only discouraged for patients with significant cardiac risk (unstable angina, significant heart failure, recent myocardial infarction, at risk arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy) but this represents very few people. "
No risk for others: have fun! It is good for morale and health!
Dr. Burté concludes with a reassuring remark: "Sexual medicine still has the means to remedy such sexual problems ". It would be a shame to do without a consultation that could both put the oil back in the wheels, especially the couple, and take a heart risk!
Why are erectile dysfunction and heart problems related?
"One hypothesis chosen to explain this phenomenon was initially the arterial diameter: vascular disease (atherosclerosis) corresponds to the accumulation of atheroma plaques in the blood vessels, which gradually become clogged. Small ships are logically the first. Knowing that the diameter of the sex veins is 1 to 2 mm – while that of the coronary arteries is 3 to 4 mm – it is easy to assume that the first are blocked before the second »takes note of dr. Carol Burte.
But there is another explanation: "Erection is a vascular and tissue phenomenon. The wall of the blood vessels consists of so-called endothelial cells: they are in direct contact with the blood stream and have their own activity. They produce nitric oxide, which is a chemical mediator that is essential for erection. Endothelial dysfunction is the cause of vascular disorders associated with erectile dysfunction. But the same endothelial disease is at stake in coronary heart disease. "