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January 6, 2012

Erectile Dysfuction and Heart Disease

The Heart and Erectile DysfunctionWhy Erectile Dysfunction and Heart Disease are Related

If you suffer from erectile dysfunction you may have heart disease and not know it. There is mounting literature  showing the correlation of erectile dysfunction ( ED) and  coronary artery disease (CVD) and that literature has been growing the last several years.

When we look at the risk factors for both erectile dysfuntion. or CVD we see that they are one in the same and that by treating one we can treat the other. It’s safe to say that the majority of cases of erectile dysfunciton and CVD  are self-induced or secondary to lifestyle choices.

What we put into our mouths or how much time we sit on our rears can greatly influence our health. Below are some good ways to decrease your incidence of both these dreaded diseases and to improve the quality of your life.


It was Dean Ornish who demonstrated the  association between heart disease and diet. His diet was little  extreme for most but it did prove to be highly effective. He promoted a vegan diet with fresh vegetables and fruit. With this diet he was highly successful in treating a severe group of cardiac patients. Most find this diet a little to difficult to stay on and usually continue it for only a short time, unless under tight supervision.

The cardiologists later recommended a low-fat diet but neglected to warn of the high glycemic load that many were consuming. Many of the food companies jumped on the low fat band wagon, to make their low fat food tasty they increased the sugar. This led to a large group of obese patients and increased the incidence of diabetes and yes heart disease and erectile dysfunction.

The diet that works the best is one that is low in fat and utilizes foods with a low glycemic index. On this diet we encourage people to stay well below the glycemic index of sugar. Click here to learn more about the glycemic index.


NO. No argument, no excuses. This leads to small vessel disease, ultimately CVD and erectile dysfunction. Let me say that one more time NO!


When we examine exercise it becomes obvious that it is one of the best things we can do for our health. It is never to late to start. It was shown in several recent articles that some of the damage done by a poor diet and smoking are not totally reversible.

The best way to prevent CVD and erectile dysfunction was to adopt a healthy diet and not smoke from an early age. Exercise is different, it is associated with tremendous benefits, even when started later in life.

The exercise program needs to have a cardio component and resistance component and needs to be done four to five days a week. The intensity  should increase over time, if you are to continue to reap the benefits. For individuals not exercising , consultation with their doctor is recommended prior to starting an exercise program.

Bio-identical Hormone Optimization

Hormones in men have been linked to erectile dysfunction for many years, but what about heart disease? We find that in men being treated for end stage prostate cancer, who have their testosterone suppressed, have a significant increase in their incidence of heart disease. It has also been shown that women after menopause have an increase in heart disease as well.

The reason is the protective mechanism associated with both estrogen and testosterone. It has been shown that testosterone improves hyperlipidemia, insulin resistance (found in type 11 diabetes) reverses vascular plaque, increases coronary blood flow and improves endothelial health (lining of the vessels) By optimizing ones testosterone and getting the free level up to an optimal level one sees marked improvement in all the things associated with these two diseases.

Estrogen has been shown to even at low doses to have significant cardiac benefit as well as increasing bone density allowing pts to exercise that other wise may suffer from severe Osteoporosis. Adding physiologic doses of testosterone to a female provides the same benefits seen in the male.


While none of this is magic and requires some discipline, the results are astounding. There is an improvement in the quality of life and even quantity. The best plan is to start young, if that is not possible start today. Remember if you or your loved one is  suffering from erectile dysfunction there maybe associated problems.

That little blue pill may help one problem but don’t forget about the heart. Talk to your doctor and remind him of the association of erectile dysfuntion and CVD , ask for his advice. If he says” huh?” or “don’t worry” , find a new doctor.

See related articles.

“Testosterone and Cardiovascular Disease”

“Cardiovascular Disease Linked to Treatments that Lower Testosterone”

“Does Testosterone Reduce Inflammation?”



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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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