PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This article summarizes current findings supporting the role of erectile dysfunction as a proxy of general health status, with a focus on the young population. RECENT FINDINGS: Erectile dysfunction has been historically associated to increased cardiovascular risk and mortality. Several studies supported the role of erectile dysfunction as a predictive factor of subsequent cardiovascular events, acquiring significant importance even in young men. Similarly, erectile dysfunction emerged as a potential marker for metabolic alterations including diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome, eventually presenting as the initial manifestation of a dysmetabolic condition in young patients. Moreover, current epidemiologic data demonstrated a significant association of erectile dysfunction with several conditions including vascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal disorders, and endocrine with chronic-sustained inflammation representing the common pathophysiological link between erectile dysfunction and comorbidities. Interestingly, longitudinal studies demonstrated a higher risk of overall mortality in patients complaining of erectile dysfunction, even irrespective of cardiovascular risk. SUMMARY: Erectile dysfunction does not represent an uncommon condition among young men. Considering the amount of data demonstrating a strong correlation between several life-risky comorbidities and erectile dysfunction, a careful and comprehensive general health assessment of patients complaining of erectile dysfunction should be carried out, regardless of patientʼs age. The identification of erectile dysfunction as an early sign of a major comorbidity would allow the implementation of therapeutic measures aimed at improving the overall health status and life expectancy across the entire aging process.
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