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Risk factors for erectile dysfunction in a cohort of 108 477 Australian men

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Erectile dysfunction (ED) confronts many men as they age. Its causes can be both organic and psychogenic.1 ED has been associated with medical conditions (eg, diabetes), certain lifestyle factors, many medical treatments (eg, surgery for prostate cancer and some antidepressant medications), and is increasingly recognised as an early marker of cardiovascular disease.24 Hence, it is important to establish risk factors for ED as men age because the prevalence of different health behaviours and pre-existing conditions are likely to change with age. Men participating in the 45 and Up Study — a population-based cohort study of people aged 45 and over, resident in New South Wales5 — provided an excellent source for a population-wide description of ED. We hypothesised that the association between lifestyle risk factors and ED may vary according to age.


Participants in the 45 and Up Study were randomly sampled from the Medicare enrolment database, with twofold oversampling of men aged 80 years and over and of regional residents. All residents in remote areas were invited to participate. The participation rate was about 18%. The 45 and Up Study sample has excellent heterogeneity and is reasonably representative of the NSW population; the…