Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a prevalent vascular disorder that, like cardiovascular disease, is now believed to cause endothelial dysfunction. In fact, a growing body of literature now suggests that ED may be an early marker for atherosclerosis, increased cardiovascular risk, and subclinical vascular disease. The emerging awareness of ED as a barometer of overall cardiovascular health represents a unique opportunity for primary prevention of vascular disease in all men. Although the implications of this relationship for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease are not yet fully appreciated, the available literature makes a strong argument for the role of erectile dysfunction as an early marker for the development of significant cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease. Early detection of erectile dysfunction could play a major role in improving male cardiovascular health.
Key words: erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, endothelium, prevention.
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