A Racing Heart Can Slow a Man's Love Life

Erectile dysfunction likelier among men with higher resting heart rate

(RxWiki News) When we see the apple of our eye, hearts start to race. But when it's time to get intimate in bed, a constantly racing heart might mean trouble for a man.

Men who have a higher than normal resting heart rate were about 70 percent more likely to develop erectile dysfunction, a new study showed.

This study did not find a link between high blood pressure and the development of erectile dysfunction.

"See your doctor for regular check-ups."

This study, led by Mario Kratz, PhD, from the Universitätsklinikum des Saarlandes in Homburg, Germany, looked at how a higher or lower than average resting heart rate and blood pressure was linked to the development of erectile dysfunction (ED).

A normal resting heart rate for adults is between 60 to 100 beats per minute, and for this study, the average systolic blood pressure was 132.4 millimeters of mercury.

Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is contracting. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxed and filling with blood to be pumped.

Previous studies have shown that erectile dysfunction is linked to high blood pressure and a high resting heart rate.

This study involved 1,015 men who were categorized into groups based on age and whether or not they had erectile dysfunction at the start of the study.

Patients' average heart rate and blood pressure were measured at each meeting with researchers.

Among the men who did not previously have erectile dysfunction, the researchers diagnosed new cases of erectile dysfunction in 29 percent of patients who had a below average resting heart rate and in 41 percent who had an above average resting heart rate.

Patients with a high resting heart rate were about 72 percent more likely to develop erectile dysfunction compared to men with an average heart rate.

Having a higher than average resting heart rate did not have any additional effect on men who had previously been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction.

High systolic blood pressure did not appear to have any additional effect on ED in men who had or had not previously been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction.

"High resting heart rate might represent a cardiovascular risk indicator," the researchers wrote in their report. "Whether heart rate represents a potential treatment target to improve erectile dysfunction in high-risk individuals must be scrutinized in prospective trials."

The authors noted a few limitations with their study, including that they were not able to randomize the number of patients who had a higher or lower than normal heart rate. The number of participants in each group was not similar.

This study, which was funded by Boehringer Ingelheim, was published online July 5 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Several of the authors received support from Boeringer Ingelheim. Others were supported by the Ministry of Economy and Science of the Saarland, Germany, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Deutsche Hochdrucklige and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Kardiologie.

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Review Date: 
July 11, 2013