Elevated plasma aldosterone is an independent risk factor for erectile dysfunction (ED), according to a new study.

Fei Wu, MD, of Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and colleagues recruited 287 men aged 18–84 years, of whom 217 suffered from ED as diagnosed using the International Index of Erectile Function 5 (IIEF-5). The researchers divided subjects into 1 control group without ED and 3 ED groups based in IIEF-5 scores: mild ED, moderate ED, and severe ED.

Mean plasma aldosterone levels were significantly higher in the ED group than in the control groups (365.6 vs. 328.0 pg/mL), the researchers reported online ahead of print in the World Journal of Urology. Mean aldosterone levels increased with ED severity, rising from 335.9 pg/mL in men with mild ED to 372.8 and 422.6 pg/mL in men with moderate and severe ED, respectively. “Thus, it is hypothesized that aldosterone may have a linear correlation with the IIEF-5 score in ED patients,” the authors wrote.

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Stepwise logistic regression analysis showed that elevated plasma aldosterone independently increases ED risk.