Men having multiple risk factors for heart disease may become more susceptible to develop erectile dysfunction in later stage of life, says a new study. Researchers focused on seven risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, high blood sugar, being overweight or obese, insufficient physical activity, poor diet, and smoking. They followed 1,136 men for a decade starting in their early 60s to see how having more of these risk factors, or poor cardiovascular health, influenced the odds of developing erectile dysfunction. “We knew that erectile dysfunction was considered an early indicator of vascular disease that might occur before heart disease was diagnosed by a doctor,” said lead study author Abbi Lane-Cordova, a preventive medicine researcher at Northwestern University in Chicago. “This study showed that men who were less likely to have risk factors for heart disease and had healthier behaviors (non-smoking, physically active, healthier diet) were also less likely to have erectile dysfunction later in life,” Lane-Cordova said by email. “Men may avoid erectile dysfunction the same way they may avoid heart disease.” Ischemic heart disease, or hardening of the arteries, is often associated with erectile dysfunction in men over 60. The condition can reduce circulation in the penis.At the start of the study, researchers scored men on each of the seven different risk factors for heart disease, awarding 0 points for the worst outcome, 1 point for intermediate or moderate risk, and 2 points for the healthiest outcome. In other words, men with the lowest cumulative risk across all seven measures would be awarded a total of 14 points. Then, researchers sorted participants into three groups from lowest to highest risk for cardiovascular disease. By the end of the study, 526 men, or 46 percent, had erectile dysfunction.But all of the men with the highest cardiovascular disease risk had erectile dysfunction, compared with just 15 percent of men with the lowest risk for cardiovascular disease.