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7 February 2005
Erection Problems May Be Early Warning Of Heart Attack
by George Atkinson

In the lead up to Valentine's Day, the American Urological Association is cautioning men that poor quality erections or erectile dysfunction could be an early warning sign that heart disease is threatening. Urologists define erectile dysfunction as the inability of a man to attain and maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Studies of men who were diagnosed with ischemic heart disease (lack of sufficient blood flow to the heart) found that a significant number of these men reported having erectile problems an average of more than four years prior to developing actual heart-related complaint.

"It's an important indicator," says Dr. Ira Sharlip, at the University of California. "Erections depend on blood flow, so if there is a problem with blood flow to the penis, what these studies say is that reduced blood flow due to arteriosclerosis may exist in other parts of the circulatory system and could lead to heart disease or heart attack. Men need to recognize that the circulatory system is responsible for many components of overall health, and that erectile dysfunction, which some men find difficult or embarrassing to discuss with their doctors, should be taken seriously because erectile dysfunction may be a warning sign of even more serious illness."

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