If you’re having trouble getting it up, you’re not alone: As many as 30 million U.S. men suffer from erectile dysfunction. ED may not only put a damper on your love life, but it may also signal larger health problems. 

Doctors found that erectile dysfunction in younger men, or the inability to maintain a sufficient erection during sex, could be a red flag for cardiovascular disease later down the road, according to a new study in the American Heart Journal.

Researchers reviewed 40 previously-published studies done on younger men to find out whether ED could help predict your odds of getting heart disease. 

It turns out, your penis may provide important clues into matters of the heart: Researchers discovered that erectile dysfunction is the first sign of atherosclerosis. Why? Both issues result from the narrowing of arteries, which block normal blood flow to the organs. While the penile arteries are a bit smaller than the arteries carrying blood to the heart, blockage of the smaller penile arteries means that the larger arteries are vulnerable to narrowing as well, which can trigger a heart attack. 

The findings are important because many doctors skip the erectile dysfunction screening at annual physical visits for young and middle-age men, since ED is seen as a sign of aging. However, the quick screening will not only detect erectile dysfunction, but it could also alert you to having a greater risk of cardiovascular disease in the future so that you can take the necessary diet and exercise prevention steps now. If you discover the signs early enough, you can work on not only improving your sex life, but also on keeping your ticker healthy for the long haul.