September 23, 2021

Viagra can protect your heart.

Research has shown that Viagra can one day be used to protect the heart and save lives.

This can be a shock to those who know the little blue pill as a reliable treatment for the penis and give men back their sex life.

Viagra is used for eretile dysfunction, but shows promise for treating a potentially fatal heart problem

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Viagra is used for eretile dysfunction, but shows promise for treating a potentially fatal heart problemCredit: Rex Features

Over-the-counter and prescription medications help pump blood to the penis.

According to scientists at the University of Manchester, it has been shown to tighten abnormal heart rhythms.

Arrhythmias are a common problem and are often caused by non-fatal heart attack or heart disease as well as viral infections, recreational drugs and alcohol.

Some types are a common cause of stroke or heart attack.

The study was conducted in sheep. But the paper’s lead author, Dr. David Hutchings, said: “We believe this discovery is about humans.

“The human heart is the size of a sheep, as is its anatomy and associated electrical circuits.

“So this discovery could one day release the potential for effective treatment that could be a catastrophic problem.”

“Clearly, anyone with cardiac arrhythmias should not take medication on their own and should consult their GP for advice on current treatment options.”

Research funded by the British Heart Foundation, published today in Circulation Research, could change the way heart conditions are treated.

Professor Mattin O’Keefe, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said heart cells in sheep were “similar to human heart cells”.

He said: “A better understanding of how heart rhythm disorders occur can pave the way for better prevention and treatment.

However, more research is needed before Viagra and similar drugs can be re-used to treat abnormal heart rhythms in patients.

Previous research in humans has shown great promise.

A 2016 BHF study found that diabetics who used Viagra had a lower risk of heart attack, and an increased risk of avoiding a heart attack. The Swedish study in 2021 confirmed this.

Professor Andrew Trafford, principal investigator at the University of Manchester, said: “There is still much work to be done – but we feel we are moving closer to an effective and powerful alternative to the current treatment.”

Viagra is thought to reduce the amount of calcium in heart cells and prevent arrhythmias.

Calcium is a key driver of heart pumping action.

When it enters the heart muscle cells called myocytes, it activates the calcium store called the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) to release more calcium.

When the heart is sick, SR becomes more of a burden than calcium, resulting in an abnormal heartbeat.

The active ingredient found in Viagra, called sildenafil, was able to block it in female sheep within 90 seconds.

The NHS says more than 2 million people in the UK suffer from arrhythmias or heart rhythm problems each year, sometimes with symptoms that include palpitations, shortness of breath and fainting.

There are treatments such as beta blockers and implantable defibrillators. But they are not always effective.

Dr Hutchings, a lecturer at the University of Manchester, said: “Not only has this study shown that Viagra has a powerful anti-rhythmic effect on living tissue, but our cell studies have also uncovered the mechanism by which it happens.”

The results are interesting, but there are general warnings about taking Viagra for people with heart disease.

National guidelines say you should not be prescribed Viagra for at least six months after having a heart attack.

People with low blood pressure should not take this group of drugs (PDE5 inhibitors) as they dilate the arteries and further lower blood pressure.

Most of the time they are safe to take with other heart medicines, except for some things used for angina.

This morning Holly and Phil discuss the benefits of Viagra and how to help a woman reach orgasm.

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