Erectile Dysfunction and Heart Attacks

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Erectile Dysfunction and Heart Attacks.

You may have read that erectile dysfunction and heart attacks are related. What’s the connection? A big one, in fact. It turns out that Erectile Dysfunction (ED) can be an early sign of Heart Disease, and that having ED places you at elevated risk for a Major Adverse Cardiac Event (MACE).

Well, shit.

Erectile Dysfunction is a common first sign of cardiac disease.

Erectile Dysfunction is a common thing I see in my clinic.

(Yes, I treat people with penises as well as vaginas!! Everyone has a pelvis!!)

And here’s the thing. If a person comes to me with this diagnosis, I make sure they are cleared by a cardiologist FIRST before I can help them.

Erectile Dysfunction and Heart Attacks are linked because ED is linked to impaired circulation

To understand what erectile dysfunction is, we might first need to understand what an erection is, and how it ‘ought’ to work when functional. I wrote a blog post about this! (Of course I did…here’s the link) ;). Read that, then hop back here.

If a person has a circulation deficit that is based in the heart, then they may loose the ability to attain, and maintain, an erection.

In the past, physicians who were ‘in the know’, thought that the link was do to the build up plaques in your arteries (atherosclerosis is the fancy word for it). They thought that the plaques which eventually clogged your heart, clogged your Penis arteries first, causing the Erectile Dysfunction.

BUT…while that sounds plausible enough, research hasn’t totally proved that true. It seems that is actually more a problem in the smooth muscle and inner lining of the blood vessels themselves, rather than a plaque-y blockage. The smooth muscle and inner lining of the blood vessels not working great causes impaired blood flow to the penis….and well…we have trouble raising the main sail.

The Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic both have good information pages about this if you want more.

People with Erectile Dysfunction are at increased risk for Major Adverse Cardiac Events!

Yikes. It is true that NOT everyone with ED has heart disease, but since many studies have shown that people with ED have an increased risk for suffering Major Adverse Cardiac Events (MACE), or heart attacks, so it is worth it to get our cute butts into a cardiologist, or at least a primary care provider, to have your heart checked, to be sure you don’t fall into this category.

There are many things that a cardiologist and primary care provider can offer, to improve your safety and heart health, if you do indeed fall into this category.

And trust me, it’s better to know about your MACE risk, than to be surprised by it.

So that is how erectile dysfunction and heart attacks can be linked

I, as a Pelvic PT, can work on the pelvic floor muscle contribution to ED, even if it is in the presence of a heart disease comorbidity. But I can’t in good faith just treat the ED if you haven’t done your primary prevention in seeing the general doc or heart doc.

Once you’ve gotten your heart checked, then get your weenie into a Pelvic PT (here’s how to find one near you), and here’s how it can help with standard ED, and how it can help reduce leaks and improve sexy-time after prostatectomy!!

Thanks for reading. Please share with someone who needs this.

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Thanks for reading!

xoxo, Dr. Kelly

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Erectile Dysfunction and Heart Attacks
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