Erectile Dysfunction (ED) or male impotence is a serious concern for most of the middle-aged men. The ED situation not only affects their confidence level and conjugal life but also increases the chances of cardiovascular diseases (CD), reveals a meta-analysis published online on the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Another the study conducted by Li-Qiang Qin, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the Soochow University in Suzhou, China, on the same topic reveals that men with sexual dysfunction can have an increased risk of CD, coronary heart disease and stroke. The study was published in the Sept.20 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The research that was published online Monday was done by Bhanu Gupta, MD, and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Dr. Gupta conducted six random clinical trials on 740 participants since 2004. The study discovered modification in lifestyle helps CD patients control the problem and as well as improve their sexual performance on an average 2.4-point on the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF).

Their research proves that 'Lifestyle interventions focused on modifiable health behaviors may be a safe strategy to improve erectile dysfunction and reduce cardiovascular risk factors.'

This improvement, however, is possible only for people with mild ED, not with those who have severe problems, say the researchers.

According to the researchers, lifestyle modification, if supported with medication, can give better result to the patients and improvement can go up to 2.66 on an average on the IIEF scale.

Although the study is restricted to the very small sample size and single geographic location, Dr. Gupta and his colleagues believe that their study is the first attempt to analyze the impact of lifestyle changes on erectile dysfunction systematically.

In summary, this study further strengthens the evidence of improvement in ED and maintenance of sexual function with lifestyle intervention and CV risk factor reduction, they say.

While Gupta's study defines ED as a lifestyle condition, Qin and colleagues have revealed ED as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Qin's study discovered associations between ED and risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiac events, heart failure, peripheral artery disease, stroke, sudden death, or all-cause mortality.

However, both the researchers have noted that participant's self-reporting about their ED condition can be dubious as the embarrassment factor plays a pivotal role among the affected men and a general improvement in lifestyle can improve both the CD and ED condition.