A group of researchers recently set out to examine the prevalence of erectile dysfunction. They also assessed the evidence of its association with cardiovascular disease and mortality.
Erectile dysfunction refers to an inability to either produce or maintain an erection that is firm enough to have sexual intercourse.
In some cases, erectile dysfunction can be a sign of an underlying medical issue, such as high blood pressure or obesity. In other cases, the driving force might be psychological.
Although erectile dysfunction is thought to be relatively common, its exact prevalence has been difficult to ascertain; studies have produced a wide range of results.
This is due to a number of reasons, not least because the definition above is subjective.
Recently, a group of researchers set out to get a clearer idea of the numbers behind this condition. They also wanted to get a better understanding of how erectile dysfunction might relate to cardiovascular disease and mortality.
An increasing issue?
According to the authors, erectile dysfunction is a growing concern. They explain that, in the United States, annual expenditure on erectile dysfunction was $330 million in 2000, compared with $185 million in 1994.
This increase is likely due to a number of reasons. For instance, age is a risk factor, and the U.S. population is steadily growing older. Also, obesity and related conditions — such as diabetes — which are also on the rise, are risk factors for erectile dysfunction.
Understanding the size and scope of erectile dysfunction is more important than ever.
To investigate, the scientists took data from earlier studies. In total, they identified 41 relevant studies that examined the prevalence of erectile dysfunction or its role in other conditions.
The researchers found an incredible variety; prevalence rates ranged from just 3% to 76.5%