The results of a review published online on September 12, 2011 in the Archives of Internal Medicine reveal that engaging in beneficial lifestyle practices and obtaining treatment for cardiovascular disease risk factors significantly improve erectile dysfunction (ED) in middle aged men. The meta-analysis is the first, to the author's knowledge, to evaluate the effect of lifestyle interventions and cardiovascular risk factor reductions on the condition.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota selected six randomized clinical trials that included a total of 740 men with an average age of 55.4 years for their analysis. The trials evaluated the effects of exercise and lifestyle change, a Mediterranean diet, an interval exercise program, weight loss and treatment with the drug atorvastatin on cardiovascular risk factors. Erectile dysfunction was evaluated via questionnaire responses.
The analysis affirmed that improvements in cardiovascular risk factors were associated with a reduction in erectile dysfunction. Separate analyses of lifestyle and drug treatment were also both associated with a significant benefit.
"Therapies currently used for the treatment of ED include oral therapy with phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors, which are highly effective in the treatment of ED," the authors write. "However, we demonstrate that cardiovascular risk factor reduction improves ED even in men who are not responsive to PDE-5 inhibitors."
"Our findings suggest that cardiovascular risk factor reduction provides incremental benefits in ED well beyond that achieved with the use of PDE-5 inhibitors," they add. "Adoption of lifestyle modifications and cardiovascular risk factor reduction will provide incremental benefit regardless of PDE-5 inhibitor use."
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