Cardiovascular disease: the effect of erectile dysfunction on adherence to cardiovascular disease medication

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Abstract

Due to their similar aetiologies, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and erectile dysfunction (ED) are closely linked, with the prevalence of ED being approximately 75% for individuals at high risk of CVD. ED can have a detrimental effect on quality of life not only for the individual but also his sexual partner which in turn impacts upon their intimate relationship. Some CVD medications have been found to have a negative effect on erectile function and therefore act as an influential factor for the cessation of important CVD medication. Low adherence to CVD medication has been linked to increased health costs, hospitalizations and importantly, a higher risk of mortality. Research has shown that men find it difficult to seek medical help in relation to ED which is also compounded by the notion that health care providers do not address sexual issues adequately. Patients' beliefs about CVD medication are modifiable and therefore an opportunity exists not only for health care providers to facilitate discussions in relation to ED and medication adherence but also encompass an opportunity to increase adherence to CVD medication through intervention.

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