For years, men have been taking Viagra (sildenafil) to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) and the drug’s effect has been proven. Now, scientists have conducted a study that suggests an additional benefit of sildenafil for men – it may help prevent heart attacks!

To understand how Viagra (sildenafil) helps protect the heart, it’s important to know a little bit about the mechanics of a heart attack. What happens is, high blood pressure (hypertension) causes the heart muscle to stiffen and harden. This makes it more difficult for blood to flow through the coronary vessels, which are the vessels that supply the heart with oxygen. When blood flow becomes restricted like this, heart tissue begins to die. If this process is unchecked, it can lead to cardiac arrest and death. 

Now, remember, this is simply an association and it is not possible to conclude that Viagra (sildenafil) actually prevents heart attacks. What we do know for sure is that it improves the quality of life for men struggling with ED.

How Does Viagra Work To Prevent Heart Attacks?

Viagra (sildenafil) relaxes and widens the blood vessels in the penis (corpus cavernosum). This improves blood flow and aids in the production of erections. In addition, sildenafil reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are known risk factors for heart disease. Therefore, by improving blood circulation and reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, it’s not hard to see how Viagra can help prevent heart attacks. 

Study Finds Men Who Took Viagra Daily For One Year Had 43% Lower Heart Attack Risk

In the Guglielmo study, researchers examined data on more than 62,000 men who took part in a health maintenance organization in the U.S. The men were between the ages of 40 and 84 and were followed for an average of 8.5 years. During this time, there were 2,453 cases of heart attack. (1) 

Topping the list of risk factors for heart attack was age. The men between the ages of 40 and 59 had a 62% higher risk of heart attack compared to the men in the 40-84 age group. (2) 

The study also found that the risk of heart attack was 21% higher among men who smoked compared to those who didn’t. (3) 

The men in the study who took Viagra daily for one year had a 43% lower risk of heart attack compared to men who didn’t take the drug. Interestingly, the risk of heart attack decreased with increasing duration of use. (4) 

What About Women?

Although Viagra (sildenafil) was originally developed for use in men, it has also been found to be effective in women. The drug was studied in a group of women with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension (IPAH), a rare blood disorder that causes high blood pressure in the lungs. When treatment with sildenafil was initiated, the blood pressure of the women in the study decreased by an average of 26/17 mmHg. (5) 

Additionally, the FDA has approved a new formulation of Viagra specifically for use in women with pulmonary hypertension. The agency did not require the manufacturers of the drug to perform any studies on its effectiveness in women, but evidence suggests that it may be more effective in this population compared to its regular form. (6) 

While it’s great to see that Viagra (sildenafil) may help prevent heart attacks, it’s only prudent for men to continue taking the drug only at the recommendation of a physician. (7) 

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