A new study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that the presence of depressive symptoms in men with erectile dysfunction constitutes a risk factor for a major cardiovascular event.
Erectile dysfunction and depressive mood are often associated, and both are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death. To investigate clinical correlates further, researchers led by Elisa Bandini of the University of Florence studied approximately 2,000 male patients in a clinic for sexual dysfunction using a structured interview while also scoring for depressive symptoms.
Results show that in these subjects with erectile dysfunction, depression increases cardiovascular problems independently from other known risk factors. Furthermore, even the use of antidepressant medications did not alter the relationship between severe depressive symptoms and adverse cardiovascular events.
"Recognizing depressive symptoms in subjects with erectile dysfunction is mandatory not only for improving their sexual life, but also for preventing cardiovascular diseases," Bandini notes.
"What is important about this study is the broader concept of the sexual medicine problem no longer being just about a man's performance in the bedroom, but about his psychological mood and his cardiovascular health," states Irwin Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Sexual Medicine and director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego. "This is a valid reason for a woman to encourage her partner to seek help for his erectile dysfunction."