Erectile Dysfunction and the Other “Bones” That Are Important

I would like men to think of erectile dysfunction as a harbinger of other chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and also bone disease or osteoporosis.

A recent study from Taiwan 4,460 men aged 40 years and older diagnosed with erectile dysfunction from 1996 to 2010 with 17,480 randomly selected age-matched patients without ED.  The research found that osteoporosis developed in nearly 6% with ED and 3.65% in men without ED.  Men who had ED had a 3 times more likelihood of developing osteoporosis when compared with men who did not have ED.

Osteoporosis is a metabolic bone disease in which the bones become brittle and porous escalating the rate of bone loss and increasing the chance of a fracture of the hips and spine.

The researchers think that the men with ED had a lower level of testosterone which is necessary for bone strength and development.  Another explanation offered by the authors is that chronic, low grade inflammation can damage the lining of the blood vessels and perhaps lead to a decrease in the blood supply to the penis which is necessary for an erection to occur.  The same inflammation can also cause the bones to fail in calcium rebuilding of bone and thus lead to osteoporosis.

Finally, there is the theory that there is alternation of the vitamin D with decreased levels in men with ED.  With less vitamin D there is a risk of alternations in the lining of the blood vessels especially those that supply the penis and lead to ED.  Decrease in vitamin D also alters bone metabolism and may result in osteoporosis.

Bottom Line: Men with ED should be check for the co-morbid conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, hormone deficiency and also have tests to be certain that men do not have osteoporosis.

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