Don’t Pop Pills For Erectile Dysfunction. Help Your Heart, Instead.

Erectile dysfunction is the recurrent or persistent inability to attain and/or maintain an erection in order for satisfactory sexual performance. It is present in up to 30 million men in the U.S. and approximately 100 million men worldwide. The U.S. has less than 8% of the world’s population, yet up to 30% of the impotence? We’re #1!

But hey, we’ve got red, white, and blue pills like Viagra. The problem is that the pills just cover up the symptoms of vascular disease and don’t do anything for the underlying pathology. Erectile dysfunction and our #1 killer, coronary artery disease, are just two manifestations of the same disease: inflamed, clogged, and crippled arteries, regardless of which organ it affects. Atherosclerosis is considered a systemic disorder that uniformly affects all major blood vessels in the body. Hardening of the arteries can lead to softening of the penis because stiffened arteries can’t relax, open wide, and let the blood flow. Thus erectile dysfunction may just be the flaccid tip of an iceberg in terms of a systemic disorder. For two-thirds of men showing up to emergency rooms for the first time with crushing chest pain, their penis had been trying to warn them for years that something was wrong with their circulation.

Why does it hit the penis first? Because the penile arteries in the penis are half the size of the coronary artery in our heart. So the amount of plaque we wouldn’t even feel in the heart could clog half the penile artery, causing symptomatic restriction in blood flow. That’s why erectile dysfunction has been called “penile angina.” In fact, by measuring blood flow in a man’s penis you can predict the results of his cardiac stress test with an accuracy of 80%. Male sexual function is like a penile stress test, a “window into the hearts of men.”

Forty percent of men over age forty have erectile dysfunction. 40 over 40. Men with erection difficulties in their 40s have a 50-fold increased risk of having a cardiac event (like sudden death). You’ve heard me say that various things increase heart disease risk by 20% or 30%. That’s nearly 5000%, leading the latest review to ask, “is there any risk greater?” That’s because it’s not so much a risk factor for atherosclerosis as atherosclerosis itself. A man with erectile dysfunction (even if he doesn’t have cardiac symptoms) should be considered a cardiac patient until proven otherwise. Erectile dysfunction is considered to be a cardiac equivalent; it’s a marker of the coronary artery one likely already has. Thus, there’s more to treating ED than establishing an erect penis; it offers an opportunity for reducing cardiovascular risk.

The reason even young men should care about their cholesterol is because it predicts erectile dysfunction later in life, which in turn predicts heart attacks, strokes, and a shortened lifespan.

Thankfully, Our Number One Killer Can Be Stopped. Check out my video on Eliminating the #1 Cause of Death. More background can be found in Arterial Acne and Blocking the First Step of Heart Disease.

This is the first of a 3-part video series on sexual health. The follow-up videos are 50 Shades of Green andPistachio Nuts for Erectile Dysfunction.

Previous videos on the subject include:

A similar relationship appears to exist for female sexual function as well. See my video: Cholesterol and Female Sexual Dysfunction.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentationsUprooting the Leading Causes of Death and More Than an Apple a Day.

Male Fertility and Diet
Poultry and Penile Cancer
Less Cancer in Vegan Men Despite More Testosterone


W. C
W. Cabout a year ago


W. C
W. Cabout a year ago


William C
William Cabout a year ago

Thank you.

Gerald L.
Gerald L2 years ago

Does the increase in Erectile Dysfunction relate to the use of Nitrate fertilizer in food production?

Viagra and Nitrates Don't Mix - Men's Health Center: Information on ...‎
1 Dec 2014 ... Mens Health medical information on impotence, heart disease, prostate ... Viagra and nitrates both cause the muscles that control the size of ...

Some Jurisdictions regulate the level of Nitrates in Baby Food, why?

Gerald L.
Gerald L2 years ago

Nitrate fertilizer should be looked at which may be first cousins to Nitrite in Viagra and found in processed meats. Nitrite is a component in the body, but in excess can cause problems. it is the component which enables high blood flow to the penis.

Just like the warning to not use viagra if on Nitro for heart issues.

Then animal manures are demonized by the vega brigade which increases Nitrate Fertilizer use which uptakes into our veggies and salads. My observation is vegetables grown in Nitrates cause inflammation in the body (swollen sinuses and.... ?). Nitrates also cause diminished cellular oxygenation and even death if in high concentrations in water.

I don't think erectile dysfunction was an issue before nitrate fertilizer was developed to make explosives in WW2 for bombs. Some jurisdictions regulate the amount of nitrates in baby food. Does the US?

Steven Johnson
Steven Johnson2 years ago

Erectile dysfunction is a condition characterized by the inability of a man to achieve or hold an erection. The dysfunction can be caused by psychological and mental hang-ups, or the problem might be caused by physical problems. A large amount of research has demonstrated a link between smoking and erectile dysfunction. Men who smoke are one-and-a-half to two times as likely to develop erectile dysfunction as non-smokers.

Fi T.
Past Member 2 years ago

Eat well and exercise enough

Dean W.
Dean W.2 years ago

I would suggest to buy sildenafil to treat impotence.

Brian Webster
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks for sharing information on erectile dysfunction I would like to share one more link where you can get prevention to ED.

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