Introduction: Erectile dysfunction (ED) inquiry and treatment could have an important role in cardiovascular prevention. The aims of the present study were to: (1) evaluate the association of ED with cardiovascular risk (CVR) factors among patients with no previous cardiovascular events; (2) assess the inquiry of ED in Portuguese primary care.
Methods: Cross-sectional study (January–March 2011) conducted in two Lisbon Primary Healthcare Centers among men aged 18–80 years, sexually active and with no cardiac or cerebrovascular disease. We collected data concerning CVR factors and sexual health inquiry through interviews and clinical records and we used the International Index of Erectile Function to evaluate ED. Logistic regression models were used to study the association between ED and CVR factors.
Results: In a sample of 90 men (mean age 49.82 ± 15.65), 32% had ED. Hypertension prevalence and the number of CVR factors was significantly higher among men with ED. However, age was strongly associated with ED and, after age-adjustment, the associations found between ED and hypertension lost their statistical significance. The majority of men evaluated their sexual life as “very important” or “important” (98%) and affirmed that sexual problems should be inquired by the general practitioner (93%) but only a minority were inquired about it (14%).
Conclusion: ED is a frequent problem among men with no previous cardiovascular event and, in our study, it was mostly associated with age. ED is still not inquired appropriately in the primary care.