Erectile dysfunction may be a major warning indication for heart disease and diabetes, say researchers.
An analysis by researchers in Melbourne has revealed that men aged 20 years and older diagnosed with erectile dysfunction had twofold chances of cardiovascular problems compared to those without it.
The authors of the study, Carol Holden and Carolyn Allan, of Andrology Australia, and Robert McLachlan, of Melbourne's Prince Henry's Institute, said the risk of a cardiovascular problem after developing erectile dysfunction was like to that of being a regular smoker, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
The researchers warned that the failure of men to seek advice on erectile dysfunction meant they "may be missing a vital warning of impending cardiovascular disease".
The researchers said men are highly concerned about their reproductive health but many did not seek medical advice for conditions such as erectile dysfunction due to numerous reasons that has created "barriers to discussion of sensitive and personal health concerns during medical consultations".
They said such tendencies might result in men exploring alternative ways to self-manage erectile dysfunction, such as purchasing medicines over the Internet or seeking help "from heavily promoted and commercialised services".
"Normalising reproductive health and raising awareness of its associations with chronic disease may encourage men to seek help or pay more attention to other problems, for example managing diabetes", the researchers said.This report was published in the Medical Journal of Australia.