We've opened up the "Heart Health" mail bag, again, to answer your questions.
Matt Breen asked, "Mark from Sioux city wants to know 'How is erectile dysfunction a potential risk factor for heart disease?'" Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology said, "This is very interesting and important question. Without getting to technical lets look at the risk factors for having erectile dysfunction. They are; age, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, chronic kidney disease, alcohol and other drug abuse, medicine side effect, depression, low testosterone and other causes but this is probably the most common list. And lets look at the risk factors for coronary artery disease. There is a significant overlap of the risk factors for both conditions. So if one may have erectile dysfunction does not mean that they have coronary artery disease, they most likely have a lot of risk factors for coronary artery disease, and by addressing them not only they may improve the erectile dysfunction but also their overall cardiovascular health."
Matt Breen asked, "Dianne from Sioux City asks 'How might oral health affect the heart?'" Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology said, "This question brings us back to one of our first discussions couple of years ago when we started these series. Lets look at how we understand coronary artery disease. We believe the from early youth a process of aging occurs in the vessel wall. How fast we make the what we call plaques and how soon do they get large enough to cause symptoms are again based on risk factors we discussed in the previous question, including age, gender, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking and so on. One of the responsible mechanism of this process is the contribution of the inflammatory immune cells. They play a role here at also accelerate the process. With bad oral health we provide a state of persistent low level chronic infection in the gum. This state maintain our immune cells hyperactive and indirectly and likely unintentionally accelerate the plaque formation as well."
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