(CNN) – It’s not something most like to talk about but an estimated 15 to 30 million American men suffer from erectile dysfunction.
A new study suggests that ED may tip off sufferers to some serious health conditions.
Erectile dysfunction may predict a man’s risk for a future stroke or heart attack, that’s what research published in the journal of sexual medicine suggests.
The study looked at health records of more than 150,000 men, and found men with ED have a 59-percent higher risk of coronary heart disease, 34-percent higher risk of stroke, and a 33-percent higher risk of dying from any cause, compared to men without symptoms of impotence.
Doctors say ED can develop years before there are signs or symptoms of cardiovascular problems.
If you’re one of the millions suffering from the condition, focus on weight loss and exercise, which improve symptoms of ED. And if you’re a smoker — quit.
To see if early heart disease plays a part in your ED, see your doctor. Things to look for include abnormal blood sugars, which can be indicators for diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure. And, a coronary artery calcium scan can also identify plaque in the arteries of your heart.
Doctors say to pay attention to underlying risk factors for heart disease, smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol.
And if you have ED, make sure you’re treating those even more aggressively.