The little blue pill is good for more than just one body part.

Viagra lowers the risk of heart disease in men by up to 39 percent, according to a new study. And men who take the drug also appear less likely to suffer an early death from any cause.

Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) looked at 70,000 adult men with an average age of 52, all of whom had an erectile dysfunction diagnosis at some point in their life.

Experts believe the drug increases blood flow into the heart’s arteries and improves oxygen flow throughout the body. For this reason, previous research has also linked the use of Viagra to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s, which can be caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain.

Using ED drugs such as Viagra can significantly reduce a person’s likelihood of suffering severe heart conditions and dying an early death, a new study suggests (file photo)

While the results of this study are promising, physicians do not recommend taking the drug off-label and it has only been approved for treating ED.

The medication works by relaxing muscles in a man’s penis, which allows the flow of more blood to it. It also thins the blood, making it flow easier in the body.

When aroused, the increase in blood flow allows for the man to have a stronger erection.  

Elderly men are more likely to suffer high blood pressure and other issues that thicken the blood and reduce its flow around the body.

In turn, they will often suffer from ED because of these conditions.

The latest study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, gathered data from over 70,000 men diagnosed with ED from 2006 to 2020.

Using medical records, they determined which had taken ED drugs – and any subsequent heart problems they may have suffered during the follow-up period.

Among the population, 23,816 used the drugs to help in the bedroom, while 48,682 others did not.

They found that those who used these medications were less likely to suffer heart issues after adjusting for factors such as race, height and weight.

Overall, deaths from heart conditions steeply dropped by almost 40 percent.

Users of ED drugs were also 17 percent less likely to suffer heart failure – when the heart does not pump as well as it should.

Users were 15 percent likely to require a coronary revascularization procedure – used to clear blockages in the heart’s arteries – down the line.

There was also a 22 percent decreased likelihood of developing unstable angina, when plaque in the coronary artery denies oxygen and blood to the heart.

Each of these conditions can be deadly if left untreated and significantly increase the likelihood of a person suffering a fatal heart attack.

Men who used ED drugs also lived longer on average, with their risk of early death dropping by a quarter over the study period.

‘[Use of the drugs] was associated with lower incidence of [heart complications], cardiovascular death, and overall mortality risk compared to non-exposure,’ researchers wrote. 

While researchers did not investigate why the medications were linked to better heart health, they cite previous research in their speculations.

This found that use of the drugs lowers a person’s blood pressure, which helps flow throughout the body and decreases the risk of clotting and other blockages that cause severe heart problems.

This is because the drug thins the blood in order to help it flow to the penis, leading to stronger erections. 

It also improves flow through the brachial artery, a major blood vessel that supplies blood to the upper arm, elbow and hand. 

Studies on mice cited by the researchers found that those exposed to the drugs suffered less severe heart attacks.

Increase in blood flow can be good for the brain too. A 2014 study found men who used the drugs suffered a decreased risk of developing dementia.

A Danish study in 2018 found that 52 percent of men will suffer from ED at some point, with the risk increasing with age.

It is estimated that more than 10million American men, and 40million men worldwide, suffer from the condition now. 

Many men will use drugs like Viagra or Cialis to handle these problems. 

While data is flimsy, there are anecdotal reports of younger men in their 20s even turning to the drugs to deal with performance anxiety and other issues in the bedroom.

Why Viagra use has grown in men under 30: Little blue pills are becoming readily available on the internet 

Viagra is more widely available in America than ever, and with the rise of telehealth platforms that allow a man to easily and discretely receive a prescription for the little blue pill online – younger men are also using the drug more than ever.

The drug, which has been manufactured by pharma-giant Pfizer since it first hit the market in 1998, was initially for older men dealing with erectile dysfunction. 

It’s use among young men has grown in recent years as well, though, as rates of mild to moderate erectile dysfunction have reached up to 20 percent among men in their 20s and 30 percent among those in their 30s, according to City Care Family Practice.

Younger men may feel reservations about approaching their doctor about the issue, though. 

This has led to the rise of companies like Hims, Lemonaid and Roman, which allow a person to quickly get a prescription for the drug after an online consultation.

 While the drug has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and deemed ok for proper use by regulators, it – like all drugs – can be dangerous if misused. 

It can cause priapism, where a person has an erection that lasts for hours and causes permanent damage to the penis. It also has a few dangerous interactions with drugs for high cholesterol.

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