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Treating cardio risk improves erections too

Lifestyle and drug treatment of CV risk improves men’s sexual function

Louise Prime

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Lifestyle intervention and drug treatment of cardiovascular risk factors were associated with significantly improved sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction (ED), shows research.

The meta-analysis, published Online First in Archives of Internal Medicine, examined six randomised controlled trials that evaluated the effect of at least 6 weeks’ lifestyle intervention, or pharmaceutical treatment of cardiovascular disease risk factors, on men’s severity of ED. The six trials include a total of 740 men with an average age of 55.4 years.

All the studies found that as the men with ED made changes to their lifestyle and their blood lipid profile improved, they also benefited from statistically significant improvements in sexual function, as measured by the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction (IIEF-5) score. The improvement in sexual function remained significant even when the two trials involving statin use were excluded, and only the four trials looking purely at lifestyle interventions were analysed.

The authors concluded: “This study further strengthens the evidence of improvement in ED and maintenance of sexual function with lifestyle intervention and CV risk factor reduction. Men with ED provide an opportunity to identify CV risk factors and initiate lifestyle changes.”

A further prospective study, also published Online First in the Archives this week, found “a graded inverse association between the number of healthy lifestyle indicators and the risks of total, ischaemic, and haemorrhagic stroke”.

Authors of a commentary on the two studies said: “The number of health benefits that accrue to persons with healthy lifestyles continue to increase in number and importance.”

They added: “The increasing epidemic of obesity in the United States is a clarion call to step up our efforts to motivate our patients and the public at large to make even small changes toward healthier lifestyles.

“These new associations between healthy lifestyles and reducing incidence of stroke, congestive heart failure, and ED can add additional powerful persuaders.

“Both clinicians and public health practitioners should be reassured that the benefits of their lifestyle modification efforts are overwhelmingly positive and continue to grow, and we should renew our efforts to help patients add life to the years, as well as years to life.”

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