Erectile dysfunction in healthy men more likely related to depression than MetS

04 Oct 2020

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is quite common among apparently healthy men, and this is more likely to be related to depressive symptoms rather than metabolic syndrome (MetS), a study has found.

Researchers looked at 549 men (mean age, 58.4 years) at risk of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes participating in a population survey, the Harmonica Project. They evaluated MetS according to the following criteria: the United States National Cholesterol Education Program Third Adult Treatment Panel (ATPIII), the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), and the Harmonization 2009 definition. Depressive symptoms were assessed with Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI) and ED with the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) questionnaire.

More than half of the population (56.5 percent) reported ED. Relative to those with normal erectile function, men with ED were older, less educated, and had more often depressive symptoms (defined as BDI ≥10). They also had lower serum testosterone and free testosterone levels, higher 2-hour glucose values, and higher systolic blood pressure.

The prevalence of MetS was 48.6 percent, 35.5 percent, and 50.6 percent according to the IDF, the ATPIII, and the Harmonization criteria, respectively. The proportion of men with ED was similar in groups with and without MetS.

In a multivariate logistic regression model, significant predictors of ED included age (odds ratio [OR], 1.11, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.05–1.16), depressive symptoms (OR, 3.54, 95 percent CI, 1.41–8.91), and lower education (primary vs high school; OR, 3.63, 95 percent CI, 1.39–9.47).

The findings may hold useful information for clinicians treating men with ED, according to the researchers.

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