Erection Protection: Is Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Prevention Possible?

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

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 impotence but can also decrease the risk of premature death from heart attack and stroke.

Can erectile dysfunction be prevented?

Because 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


Kho, H.G., et al. "The use of acupuncture in the treatment of erectile dysfunction." International Journal of Impotence Research 11.1 (1999): 41-46.

"NIH Consensus Conference. Impotence. NIH Consensus Development Panel on Impotence." JAMA 270.1 (1993): 83-90.

Vlachopoulos, C.V., et al. "Prediction of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality with erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies." Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 6.1 (2013): 99-109.

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