A new study in the journal BJU International looks at how widespread Erectile Dysfunction is worldwide. Researchers were also interested in the associations between Erectile Dysfunction and cardiovascular disease and death.
But the most interesting thing they found relates to men who are not yet as badly affected by cardiovascular disease.
Most studies which explore how common Erectile Dysfunction is vary so wildly that they are almost useless. If you believe 41 previous studies, then you would think that Erectile Dysfunction occurs in anything from three to 76.5 percent of the population.
This might be because different studies use different definitions of ED, different screening tools to diagnose it (because they study different age groups) and because in some cultures people are less likely to admit that they have a problem.
Even the maximum estimates derived from the available published studies (which the researchers take to be more accurate than the minimum estimates) vary wildly.
For instance, Erectile Dysfunction estimates for North America are between 20.7 and 57.8 percent of the (male!) population. In South America it is anything from 14 to 55.2 percent, in Europe it’s between 10 and 76.5 percent, in Oceania between 40.3 and 60.69 percent, in Asia between eight and 71.2 percent, and in Africa between 24 and 58.9 percent.
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That probably means that at least half the men in the world have some level of ED.
Unsurprisingly, they found that the primary causal factors behind ED are older age, obesity, diabetes and milder metabolic disorders, depression, high alcohol use, and smoking.
They found that men with Erectile Dysfunction were more likely to suffer from almost all imaginable cardiovascular conditions, including high blood pressure, heart attacks, clogged arteries, stroke, angina, and peripheral vascular disease.
Men with ED were 26 percent more likely to die early of any cause, 43 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, and were 1.68 times more likely to have dementia when compared with the non-ED population.
The shocking part of this survey is that men below the age of 40 suffered from Erectile Dysfunction at lower rates, but not substantially lower rates, than older men did. Up to 50 percent of young adults, compared with around 75 percent of seniors, struggled with ED (looking at the maximum estimates).
Considering that cardiovascular diseases are problems that creep up on us in our 40’s, this is alarming. The researchers speculated that it might be due to increasing levels of performance anxiety, depression, obesity, and lack of exercise among young men.
As with many health problems, this points to maintaining good health as the foundation for…more good health!
Since it’s tied to potentially deadly diseases like cardiovascular diseases, the authors of the survey recommended that doctors screen for ED in patients who are especially at risk, mainly because they might not offer this information themselves.