Erectile Dysfunction (ED, Impotence) (cont.)

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What is the prognosis for erectile dysfunction?

Treatments for erectile dysfunction tend to be successful in returning the patient to an active sex life.

The relationship between erectile dysfunction and heart disease needs to be stressed. Erectile dysfunction is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and death. The same risk factors that can lead to narrowed arteries in the penis are the same as those that decrease blood supply to the heart and brain. Lifestyle modification to stop smoking and control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes not only can help treat erectile dysfunction but can also decrease the risk of premature death from heart attack and stroke.

Can erectile dysfunction be prevented?

Since peripheral vascular disease is often the cause of erectile dysfunction, the same risk factors that are associated with heart attack and stroke may cause narrowing of the arteries that supply the penis. Prevention requires lifelong attention and control of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Smoking cessation, weight loss, and regular exercise will also help maintain sexual function.

Medically reviewed by Michael Wolff, MD; American Board of Urology

Portions of the above information has been provided by the National Institutes of Health (


Brosman, Stanley A. "Erectile Dysfunction." July 22, 2009. <>.

Diamond, L.E., D.C. Earle, W.D. Garcia, and C. Spana. "Co-administration of Low Doses of Intranasal PT-141, a Melanocortin Receptor Agonist, and Sildenafil to Men with Erectile Dysfunction Results in an Enhanced Erectile Response." Urology 65 (2005): 755.

Ellsworth, Pamela, and Eileen M. Kirshenbaum. "Current Concepts in the Evaluation and Management of Erectile Dysfunction." Nov. 26, 2008. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/3/2014

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