Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition with a significant effect on quality of life. The prevalence of ED increases with age and other risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, smoking, coronary heart disease, dyslipidemia and depression). Nitric oxide (NO) activity is adversely affected, in penile and vascular tissue, by these risk factors. Endothelial dysfunction and a reduced generation or bioavailability of NO have emerged as major pathophysiological mechanisms in ED. Hyperlipidemia may impair erectile function by affecting endothelial and smooth muscle cells of the penis. Oxidized low-density lipoprotein is a causative factor for the impaired relaxation response of the corpus cavernosum. Elevated serum cholesterol and reduced high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of ED. It follows that treating dyslipidemia could have a beneficial effect on ED. Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors are now considered as first line treatment for ED. There is evidence that statins improve responses to these drugs. ED is considered as a warning sign of silent or early vascular disease. The use of statins may be beneficial in these patients.
Keywords: Erectile dysfunction, hyperlipidemia, statins, fibrates, phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors
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