Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) are 70 per cent more likely to die early, a new study has found.
US scientists believe that the disorder may be linked to poor cardiovascular health, and suggested that men with ED should be screened for health issues that could cut their lives short.
ED is a term used to describe the inability to get or maintain an erection, according to the NHS. The condition can be caused by the narrowing of the blood vessels leading to the penis, hormonal problems, as well as injuries.
The findings will likely be a cause for concern for the millions of men who struggle with impotence around the world, including 30 million men in the US alone.
Researchers at the University of Mississippi set out to better understand the relationship between ED and mortality rates.
Those with ED were more at risk of life-threatening diseases when compared to those who didn’t experience the problem, according to the study published in the ‘Journal of Sex Medicine’.
In order to make their findings, scientists assessed data from 1,790 adult men aged between 20 and 85-year-olds from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, over seven years. 557 of those involved reported experiencing ED.
This data was used alongside death certification from the National death Index up until 21 December, 2011.
The results showed that the risk of death rose by 70 per cent in men with ED.
Some 244 of the original participants died in this period, with 61 deaths caused by cardiovascular disease, 64 from malignant neoplasms, and 12 from chronic lower respiratory diseases.
The paper also revealed that 20 per cent of men under the age of 40 suffer from the problem – going against the assumption that ED affects older men, the MailOnline reported.
“The present findings have major public health and clinical implications in that ED is a strong indicator of premature mortality,” the study concluded.
Further research is now needed into the long-term effects of ED, the researchers said.