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Majority of men unaware of ED warning signs

Just over 10% of men in their early 40s are aware that erectile dysfunction (ED) strikes regularly in the fourth decade even though evidence suggests that 40% of men aged 40 or over have some form of ED, a new survey reveals.

Most men were unaware that erection problems may be a warning sign that they may have a more serious condition; less than a fifth of the men surveyed knew that ED could be a sign of underlying organic heart disease or other potentially serious conditions, despite evidence of such a link in 80% of cases. In fact, three times as many survey respondents in their 40s rated hair loss ahead of losing their erections as a major health concern.

Further, the survey shows that less than one fifth have visited their GP in the last 12 months, and that men in their 40s are likely to put off visits to their GP until they consider their symptoms to be long-term or worsening. But these men can be optimistic about finding a solution; 95% of ED cases can now be treated by the healthcare professional once reported.

Professor Alan White, chair of the Men's Health forum, said: "The vast majority of men are unlikely to discuss their condition with a GP, so the importance of frontline nurses being able to make that diagnosis is even greater. Nurses are in the ideal position to discuss ED with not only the man, but also the partner during routine visits. Due to the underlying conditions associated with ED it is vital that primary and secondary care nurses have the confidence to strike up conversations with patients during consultation, be it for a routine check up or vaccination."

The survey was commissioned as part of the new ED disease awareness campaign 40over40, from Lilly UK, which has been designed to educate men on the causes of ED and who it affects, and encourage them to seek help. The campaign will launch nationwide on 30 June 2008.

Do you feel comfortable talking about erectile dysfunction? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"It is a little uncomfortable because all your freinds think there's
something really wrong with you and if you find a new girlfreind how embarassing is it if you cant get a full erection." - Graham, Newmarket

"Not with an GP but find it much easier to talk with a consultant." - Graham Blakey, Grimsby

"No." - Bryan Lane, Gibraltar

"Not completely but I need to do something." - David Johnson, Burnley, Lancashire