Erectile dysfunction for primary care providers

Can J Urol. 2008 Aug:15 Suppl 1:63-70; discussion 70.


Introduction: Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects more than half of men between the ages of 40 and 70 years and is associated with a significant decline in quality of life. ED in an otherwise healthy man should be considered a sentinel event for endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease. Such a person should be carefully evaluated for undiagnosed risk factors including hypertension, diabetes, lipid disorders, and obesity.

Objective: To understand that erectile dysfunction is prevalent and may be the first sign of undiagnosed cardiovascular risk factors.

Materials and methods: Literature review.

Results: Current literature suggests that physicians should screen all men for ED, and if present, rule out concomitant cardiovascular risk factors.

Conclusion: ED is prevalent and may be the first sign of undiagnosed cardiovascular risk factors. With the advent of safe and effective phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors (PDE-5i), most patients reporting dissatisfaction with erectile function can start treatment right away. Preventative care algorithms should include screening men 40 years of age or older for ED.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Erectile Dysfunction* / diagnosis
  • Erectile Dysfunction* / drug therapy
  • Erectile Dysfunction* / epidemiology
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Penile Erection / physiology
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Physicians, Family*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vasodilator Agents / therapeutic use


  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Vasodilator Agents