Severe depression in men who experience erectile dysfunction is also associated with a higher incidence of heart problems

According to a new study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. as many as 15 percent of men with erectile dysfunction experience depression. Researchers in Florence, Italy, screened more than 2,000 men for erectile dysfunction and depression, then noted which men later went on to have serious or fatal heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.

A depressed mood increased the men’s’ risk. After six years, among the men who weren’t depressed, 91 percent avoided all major heart problems. Among the men who were depressed, only 85 percent avoided those problems. “In erectile dysfunction subjects, the presence of depressive symptoms has deleterious effects not only in minds, but also in bodies,” says study author Eliza Bandini, a psychiatrist at the University of Florence, in her report. The study also found the use of antidepressant medications did not reduce the incidence of heart problems. “So far, no study has evaluated the possible effect of treatment of depression on the incidence of major cardiovascular events,” Bandini says.