No man wants to talk or even think about erectile dysfunction (ED), but it could be a red flag for a much more serious disease (like this).”If you are 45 to 50 and your only health issue is that ‘it doesn’t work in the bedroom the way that it used to,’ that’s a huge red flag,” says Joseph Alukal, MD, a urologist at the NYU Langone Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health in New York City. ED may signal a lack of blood flow, which indicates trouble in other parts of the body too, such as the heart and the brain.”If you develop ED, it is as likely to predict a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years as a smoking or family history of heart disease.”
Evan Appelbaum, MD, a cardiologist at Men’s Health Boston, a Harvard-affiliated multi-specialty practice and the first Men’s Health Center in the United States, agrees. “ED is another major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and should prompt further evaluation even without other risk factors.”
Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) is a symptom that men should never ignore, says David Poppers, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Tisch Center for Men’s Health in New York City. It is one of the signs of acid reflux (here are five more), and it can also be a harbinger of an allergic condition or possibly esophageal cancer and needs evaluation, he says. “Chronic acid reflux can cause precancerous changes in the esophagus, known as Barrett’s esophagus,” he says. “Treating people may help prevent Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer.” Be sure you never ignore these early throat cancer symptoms either.