Impotence May Be
Sign Of Heart Disease

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Impotence in men caused by blood flow problems may be the first sign of heart disease even in the absence of other symptoms, doctors said.
Researchers presented their findings Sunday at the American Urological Association's annual meeting. The study suggested that patients with impotence caused by blood flow problems would benefit from a heart exam, particularly if there was a family history of heart disease.
``We already know that impotence can be the first sign of diabetes, kidney failure or neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis and lumbar disc disorders,'' said Dr. John Mulhall of the Loyola University Medical Center.
``The new findings of a link between impotence and heart disease provides another important reason why men should undergo a thorough health examination rather than simply take measures or medications like Viagra to treat the impotency,'' he said in a statement.
The study of 42 men between the ages of 35 and 55 found that patients with penile blood flow problems were more likely to show cardiac abnormality after an exam by a heart doctor even though they reported no symptoms other than impotence.
About half of men between the ages of 40 and 70 in the United States suffer from some degree of impotence. The problem affects 10 percent of men worldwide and is more common among older men as well as those with high blood pressure, diabetes and neurological disorders as well as those who have had prostate cancer surgery.
``This latest study indicates that certain patients with impotence diagnosed as being the result of serious penile blood flow problems, particularly those men who also have a first-degree blood relative with coronary artery disease, could benefit from evaluation by a cardiologist,'' Mulhall said.
Impotence has been a hot item lately following the release of the world's first impotence pill Viagra from Pfizer Inc. Since its launch in March it has become one of the most prescribed medications in the United States.

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