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Erectile problems and cardiovascular disease

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There is much evidence to support the fact that erectile dysfunction (ED) is associated with cardiovascular disease. Viachopoulos et al explained that, in the patient with cardiovascular disease, erectile dysfunction is common.1 Knowing this means that any man who presents with issues associated with ED must be thoroughly evaluated for cardiovascular and also endocrine risk factors. It is essential that men with chronic cardiovascular disease attending their primary healthcare provider are asked about erectile difficulties. The heart is usually just one of the sites affected in generalised arteriopathy, which will likely impact on arterial inflow to the corpora cavernosa (see Figure 1).

Erectile dysfunction can affect men at any age. It is a psycho-physiological condition that impacts sexual arousal. Developing an understanding of the psychological and physical effects of ED for the patient (and his partner) can assist the primary care nurse in providing a service that will respond to the needs of a large number of men.

ED is one of a number of male sexual dysfunctions, but is possibly the most spoken about. The condition can be distressing for men and their partners, despite an increased understanding and a number of advances in the field.


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