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. Jul-Aug 2015;13(4):331-5.
doi: 10.1370/afm.1816.

Erectile Dysfunction and Undiagnosed Diabetes, Hypertension, and Hypercholesterolemia

Free PMC article

Erectile Dysfunction and Undiagnosed Diabetes, Hypertension, and Hypercholesterolemia

Sean C Skeldon et al. Ann Fam Med. .
Free PMC article


Purpose: We investigated whether erectile dysfunction, a marker for future cardiovascular disease, is associated with undiagnosed cardiometabolic risk factors among US men. Identifying the presence of these risk factors could lead to earlier initiation of treatment for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional data from men aged 20 years and older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during 2001-2004. Erectile dysfunction was determined by a single, validated survey question. We used logistic regression analyses to investigate the relationship between erectile dysfunction and undiagnosed hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes.

Results: After multivariate adjustment, men with erectile dysfunction had more than double the odds of having undiagnosed diabetes (odds ratio = 2.20; 95% CI, 1.10-4.37), whereas no association was seen for undiagnosed hypertension or undiagnosed hypercholesterolemia. For the average man aged 40 to 59 years, the predicted probability of having undiagnosed diabetes increased from 1 in 50 in the absence of erectile dysfunction to 1 in 10 in the presence of erectile dysfunction.

Conclusions: Our results underscore the importance of erectile dysfunction as a marker of undiagnosed diabetes. Erectile dysfunction should be a trigger to initiate diabetes screening, particularly among middle-aged men.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; disease prevention; health promotion; men; reproductive system; risk factors; screening; sexual function; special population.

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