Sexual health is fundamental to an individual's overall health and well-being, and a healthy and dynamic sex life can contribute significantly to a high quality of life. Sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction (ED) in men, is found to be very common among patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases (CVD). ED becomes more common with advancing age. Endothelial dysfunction, low plasma testosterone levels, and inflammation are common risk factors and pathophysiological links between cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and ED.
ED has been found to be an early and independent predictor of future CVD events, thereby providing a chance to initiate preventive measures at the earliest. Primary and secondary prevention of CVD can be aided by the early screening and diagnosis of ED. Compared to other investigational cardiovascular biomarkers, ED assessment provides a simple and affordable prognostic tool.
Among patients who discontinue or show nonadherence to cardiovascular therapy, ED has been found to play a significant role. ED is impacted differently by various cardiovascular drugs. The worst impact on ED is shown by diuretics and β-blockers, while the best profiles were shown by the renin-angiotensin–aldosterone system inhibitors and nebivolol. It is imperative that physicians know these side effects before prescribing such drugs to the patients. The ambiguous impact of ED treatment on CVD risk demonstrates a complex interaction between ED and CVD drugs.
In terms of CVD risk, testosterone replacement therapy has yielded conflicting results and should be administered with close monitoring for potential side effects. Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, a drug used in ED, is found to be safe for the cardiovascular system and has additional beneficial effects on the vasculature, thereby yielding promising prognostic results.