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Mediterranean diet reduces CVD risk in erectile dysfunction patients

The Mediterranean diet is linked to improved cardiovascular performance in patients with erectile dysfunction, according to research presented at the EuroEcho-Imaging 2014 meeting held recently in Vienna, Austria.

Presented by Dr Athanasios Angelis from Greece, the results showed that patients with erectile dysfunction who had poor adherence to the Mediterranean diet had more vascular and cardiac damage. The study included 75 men with erectile dysfunction, aged 56 years on average, who attended the Department of Cardiology at Hippokration Hospital in Athens, Greece. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was assessed with the Med-Diet Score1 which ranks patients as high (30–55), intermediate (21–29) or low (0–20) according to consumption of cereals, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy products, wine and olive oil.

Vascular function was assessed by measuring two aspects of atherosclerosis, namely atheromatosis and arteriosclerosis. The researchers found that a lower Med-Diet Score correlated with significantly worse vascular and heart function. These patients had greater intima-media thickness (IMT) and aortic stiffness as well as higher left ventricular mass and more profound diastolic dysfunction.

28851211_sDr Angelis said: “Patients with erectile dysfunction who had unhealthy diets had more vascular and cardiac damage than those who followed the Mediterranean diet. Previous studies have shown that patients with erectile dysfunction have vascular damage but we found that the heart is also damaged. This may help to further explain why these patients are more prone to cardiovascular events. The formation of atheroma, the stiffening of the arteries, and the poor functioning of the heart can eventually lead to a cardiac event.”

“Our findings suggest that adopting the Mediterranean diet can improve the cardiovascular risk profile of patients with erectile dysfunction and may reduce their chances of having a heart attack or stroke. This needs to be tested in a larger study,” Dr Angelis added.

“Patients who have erectile dysfunction and don’t adhere to the Mediterranean diet have vascular and cardiac damage and are at increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Our findings suggest that adopting a healthy diet can reduce that risk. We also advise patients to stop smoking, exercise and ensure that they have healthy levels of blood pressure and lipids,” Dr Angelis concluded.


1. Panagiotakos DB, Pitsavos C, Stefanadis C. Dietary patterns: a Mediterranean diet score and its relation to clinical and biological markers of cardiovascular disease risk. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2006;16:559–68.

Published on: January 29, 2015

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