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Failure to grasp biomarkers' link with cardiovascular disease puts men at risk

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Failure to spot key signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is leading to late diagnosis and unnecessary deaths, a report by the Men's Health Expert Policy Group (MHEPG) has found.

The report, Making men's health matter – a dossier on how men's health outcomes can be improved in the new NHS, found that healthcare professionals were not recognising that conditions such as erectile dysfunction and testosterone deficiency are biomarkers of CVD.

The report contains several recommendations for public health organisations to improve men's health outcomes. These include recommending the DH should 'provide clarity about where commissioning responsibilities for men's health services sit in the new health and care system', while PHE should work with professional groups like the RCN to identify how the diagnosis and treatment of men's health conditions can be improved as part of the wider 'Making every contact count' initiative.'

including appointing a national clinical lead for men's health, the creation of a national curriculum to train healthcare professionals to treat men affected by erectile dysfunction and testosterone deficiency syndrome, and studying the experiences of men accessing primary care services and identifying where improvements can be made. Other recommendations include appointing a national clinical lead for men's health and the creation of a national curriculum to train healthcare professionals to treat men affected by erectile dysfunction and testosterone deficiency syndrome.

Professor Hugh Jones of the MHEPG has said: 'For too long men's health needs have been under the radar and early warning signs of cardiovascular disease, such as erectile dysfunction, have not been used to help prevent unnecessary and potentially life- threatening conditions. In a world where patient outcomes and experience are at the heart of the health service we need to make sure that men's health issues are being taken seriously. Policymakers, commissioners and healthcare professionals need to work together to seize the opportunity presented by biomarkers like erectile dysfunction to stop men unnecessarily dying from preventable cardiovascular disease.'

The report states that CVD is responsible for over 45,000 premature deaths a year in the UK. Erectile dysfunction affected approximately two million men over 18 in 2011.

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