The impact of vascular risk factors on erectile function

Drugs Today (Barc). 2005 Jan;41(1):65-74. doi: 10.1358/dot.2005.41.1.875779.


The main cause of erectile dysfunction is organic in nature, with vascular etiologies being the most common risk factors. The incidence of erectile dysfunction increases with the number of vascular comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, smoking and atherosclerosis. The earliest signal of endothelial damage in men with vascular risk factors is the manifestation of erectile dysfunction. The penis is a barometer of the body's endothelial function, so it is reasonable then to correlate vascular pathologies as direct causes of erectile dysfunction. Moreover, erectile dysfunction may be the first clinical presentation of any of these comorbidities, with the vascular endothelium playing a pivotal role in regulating vascular homeostasis of the corpora cavernosa. This article addresses the impact of vascular risk factors on erectile function based on current evidence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arteriosclerosis / complications
  • Diabetes Complications / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / complications
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / etiology*
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects