A new study suggests that men with erectile dysfunction (ED) should be screened for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). After adjusting for age and other health conditions, patients with ED were more than twice as likely to have sleep apnea than their normal counterparts.
This was the largest study to date to demonstrate a relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction. Researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York evaluated 870 consecutively enrolled men through a cardiac screening program. Patients were screened for obstructive sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction through clinical questionnaires and were asked about their history of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, diabetes and smoking. The mean age in the study population was 47.3 years, with a mean BMI of 30.2.
Sixty-three percent of patients in the study screened positive for obstructive sleep apnea, 5.6 percent had a history of diabetes, and 29 percent had a smoking history. The likelihood for having OSA increased as the severity of ED increased.
The good news for patients with both OSA and ED is that treatment for sleep apnea through continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP), together with drug therapy, has been shown to improve symptoms of ED.