Sometimes seemingly unrelated events can be connected. One of my favourite documentaries was a BBC program called “Connections” by James Burke. He would prove how diverse events influenced each other; like how the common drinking thermos was instrumental in helping to put a man on the moon. The same can be said for health care. Could there be a link between heart disease, memory loss and erectile dysfunction? Three seemingly unrelated diseases do share a common path. I will also explain about the thermos and space travel, but that will have to wait until the end.

Heart disease and memory loss do have a connection. Heart and cardiovascular disease has an impact on blood delivery to all organs. It could be due to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) which reduces blood flow to certain parts of the body. Some types of heart rhythm issues (arrhythmia) or heart failure can reduce blood delivery to all parts of the body. This reduced blood flow to the brain can reduce nutrient and oxygen supply to fragile brain cells.  And I’m sure we are familiar with the cognitive troubles that can happen after a stroke or a TIA/mini stroke (transient ischemic attack). So there is a connection between heart disease and memory.

There are medical studies which demonstrate the connection between heart disease and cognitive function. In the Jan 28, 2013 edition of the Journal American Medical Association Neurology, researchers reported this connection. After following a group of 70 to 80 year olds for a few years, the researchers noticed a decline in cognitive function. This decline is normal for people in their 80s, and people in their 40s like myself. However it was noted that people with heart disease (atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease and heart failure) had twice the risk of developing cognitive issues.

The same correlation also applies to sexual dysfunction. In July 1994 edition of the medical journal Urology, men in their 40s to 70s with sexual dysfunction were screened for other health problems. No surprises here, men with issues of heart disease and high blood pressure also had the greatest risk for developing erectile dysfunction. Cigarette smoking was also a significant risk factor.

It does make sense that the health of your heart can affect the health of other organs. The advice for improving your heart health is worth repeating. Reduce your risk factors for heart disease by getting regular exercise, stopping smoking and eating well. Visit your Doctor or Heart Pharmacist to have your blood pressure checked. I almost forgot about the thermos connection. The thermos provided a theory of how to keep liquids cool. This was necessary to keep liquid rocket fuel cold on the Saturn V rockets used for the Apollo moon landing missions. So you see, unrelated events can be connected.

AuthorMonique de Moor