Erectile Dysfunction: Inconvenience or Health Problem?

By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

I’ve got news for you: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is likely not just a penis problem alone…. It may be a sign of a much greater health issue: heart disease.

Take Heed, Men, More than Just Your Sex Life May Be at Stake

Here’s what you need to know:

In 2010, German researchers first reported that erectile dysfunction (ED) is more than a localized problem of achieving an erection but that it is often a major predictor of general cardiovascular disease.

Since that time, other researchers have confirmed this troubling association that many, if not most men, are totally unaware of. Their findings indicate that arteries serving the penis, heart, brain, legs, and other parts of the body, are often affected by the same inflammatory process that impedes blood flow. In other words, there’s a common vascular pathology of damage to the sensitive lining of arteries.

This, in fact, is the most common cause of ED.

According to urologist David Brock of the Canadian Urological Association, the smaller blood vessels of the penis may be affected by inflammation and plaque “much earlier” than the larger coronary, carotid, and femoral arteries of the body, and men may thus develop symptoms of ED “long before” signs of cardiovascular disease show up.

These findings represent a huge wake-up call, as Dr. Brock makes quite clear in the title of his 2014 article in the Canadian Urological Association Journal: “Diagnosing erectile dysfunction could save your patient’s life.”

What does this mean to you? It means that if you develop erectile dysfunction at any age, even in your thirties and forties, as I have seen in my cardiology practice, don’t waste time seeing a urologist. While you are at it, get yourself screened for cardiac risk. Trouble may be brewing beyond your penis!

Moreover, as Dr. Brock points out, even mild ED that has an arterial basis (there are other causes as well, that I will also discuss in a moment) could definitely increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Most men immediately think of “the pill” – a prescription such as Viagra – at the first sign of ED. It certainly is OK for occasional usage, and for sexual performance, but it is not for regular use and not the best solution in consideration of ED as a cardiovascular issue requiring monitoring and perhaps treatment, or, at the minimum, a preventive strategy.

Such a strategy is beneficial for all men, and particularly important for those with diabetes and hypertension, which are forerunners to cardiovascular disease – it should include the following:

10 Ways to Improve Your Health in 5 Minutes or Less

Here’s more information on this very important subject for men, including a video on the myth that the pill is the only remedy for ED, plus practical details on a number of lifestyle practices that can serve not only sexual performance and the health of your penis, but your cardiovascular and overall health as well.


© Stephen Sinatra, M.D. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply


  1. Nathaniel D.

    on May 14, 2015 at 5:18 pm


  2. Ernest D.

    on May 14, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    I also have a heart problem and have a Pacemaker & Difilberator. will that be ok for me?

  3. Richard JB

    on May 17, 2015 at 5:36 am

    Can a TURP operation cause ED?

  4. Paul S.

    on June 14, 2015 at 3:57 am

    At age 80 I was very sexual active. However, in March 2010. I developed a lower back pain for no known reason. In May 2010. I had an MRI. and the back pain disappeared own its on.And since then, I have ED. I have tried several remedies with no result. I am healthy, on no medications, and physically fit. Very active, weight 160 lbs. Now I am desperate and I can’t explain what is wrong to my wife.

  5. Gord R

    on June 28, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    I have congestive heart failure, though my coronary arteries are clear on angiography. I started on an aggressive supplement program, guided largely by cardiologist Dr Steven Sinatra’s books and one of the supplements he recommended is L-arginine, an amino acid. I soon noticed an improvement in erectile function. L-arginine ramps up the production of nitric oxide, as do Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, and the dilation of blood vessels and improvement of endothelial function that nitric oxide confers are of general cardiovascular benefit, not just a benefit to erectile function. I do still use Cialis when the need arises, but have learned that taking Cialis and L-arginine on the same day can cause blood pressure to fall too low, causing dizziness when getting up from sitting. When a sexual encounter seems possible, I just skip L-arginine that day!

    To answer Richard JG above…yes, TURP can cause or worsen ED and it’s a result of the virtually unavoidable damage to nerves in our sexual plumbing system. This is unrelated to plaque and clogging of the arteries supplying the penis that’s touched on here.

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