We always hear about Cardiovascular Disease being a "silent killer". That's a half truth because there is a range of signs and symptoms that may lead to early detection of heart disease.
One common symptom is Erectile Dysfunction which is commonly neglected inside the doctors office because men don't speak on it and their physicians don't ask. When I broach the subject and ask whether there is any difficulty initiating or maintaining erection, the patient usually shares that this is not a problem, however, if I ask the question differently, as in "does it work as well as it used?", well...the latter response tends to be quite the contrary. What happens to the penis predicts what happens to the heart. Remember that the heart is a pump that provides blood flow to the organs and soft tissue, which is exactly what the penis requires during an erection.
Commonly when we think of heart health, we consider high blood pressure. This is primarily due to atherosclerosis or otherwise known as hardened arteries which are unable to stretch and rebound (decreased elasticity), and are unable to accommodate the changes in volume as blood is forced through them, thereby, leading to increased blood pressure (hypertension). A common complication of this process is thrombosis, the creation of a blood clot as a result of the partial occlusion of an artery.
Why do arteries harden? A key player in the development of this is Cholesterol and in order to give that topic justice I would like to refer you to this article written by David Patterson.