Male reproductive health problems may coexist with, or represent a marker for, other common conditions including heart disease and diabetes, according to an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Dr Carol Holden (PhD), of Andrology Australia, Monash University, VIC and co-authors Dr Carolyn Allan and Dr Robert McLachlan of Andrology Australia and Prince Henry’s Institute, Melbourne, VIC, analysed research linking diabetes and cardiovascular disease to erectile dysfunction (ED). The authors noted that the research also identified connections between obesity and depression with reproductive health disorders.
"Studies suggest that the degree of risk for a cardiovascular event after developing ED is similar to that due to being a current smoker," Dr Allan said.
The analysis found that men, over the age of 20 diagnosed with ED, were reported to have more than a twofold higher incidence rate of atherosclerotic (a common form of arteriosclerosis in which fatty substances form a deposit of plaque on the inner lining of arterial walls) cardiovascular events compared with men in the general population.
"For men diagnosed with diabetes, prevalence estimates of ED range from 34 per cent to 89 per cent," said Dr Allan.
Dr Allan suggested that ED may even be the presenting symptom in men with undiagnosed diabetes and advised that glucose testing is warranted as an integral part of ED evaluation.
"Despite the growing body of evidence pointing to strong associations between general and reproductive health, a better understanding of the interrelationships between health conditions is still needed," said Dr Allan.
"A national longitudinal study of men’s health could make a significant contribution to elucidating the intersection of biomedical, psychosocial, social and environmental factors that impact on a man’s health and wellbeing across his lifespan."
(Source: Australian Medical Association: Medical Journal of Australia: June 2010)