Magazine article USA TODAY

Erectile Dysfunction May Indicate Other Disorders. (Urology)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Erectile Dysfunction May Indicate Other Disorders. (Urology)

Article excerpt

It is important for physicians in general and cardiologists in particular to identify men with erectile dysfunction (ED) and, if necessary, encourage them to seek treatment, according to Lawrence Levine, a urologist at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago. He maintains that doctors should routinely inquire about their patients' erectile status because the diagnosis of ED may indicate progressive coronary or cerebrovascular disease as well as undiagnosed hypertension, diabetes, or other disorders.

ED and cardiovascular disease share many important and common risk factors, including diabetes, hypertension, and smoking. If there is damage in the cavernosal arteries--the primary blood vessels supplying penile erectile tissue--that same damage is likely to occur in the coronary arteries.

"Physicians should take the initiative to ask the patient about his erectile status," Levine stresses. "Embarrassment is a significant factor that makes the patient less likely to volunteer the information." A study presented at the 2000 American Urological Association meeting supports this notion. In a survey of 500 men who were seeing urologists for reasons other than ED, 44% of them had experienced ED, but failed to tell their physician about the problem. …

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