​Heart disease is the number one cause of mortality in the United States, accounting for as many as one in four deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What's more, the links between heart disease and erectile dysfunction (ED) have never been more apparent. Coronary artery disease, the buildup of plaque and fatty deposits in the arteries leading to the heart, reduces blood flow and can cause a heart attack. This is the most common type of heart disease, and the decreased blood flow it causes can also affect erection quality. The much smaller arteries and veins responsible for carrying blood needed in the penis to make it erect are even more dramatically affected by any reduction.

Given the gravity of heart disease and its connections to ED, it's crucial to have a conversation with your doctor about both conditions if you have either. Here are a few key questions you should ask.

1. Does my ED indicate early heart disease?