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Sex is safe after heart attack

A study has found out that sexual activity is not a risk factor for those with heart disease.

Sumayah Aamir, I4U News, Sep 23, 2015

Gone are the days when sex was considered taboo after suffering a heart attack. Nowadays, doctors in fact encourage their patients to have an exciting sex life despite their suffering a cardiac arrest.

That is because the chances of having a heart attack due to sex are pretty slim. The percentage is close to nil. The majority of patients are often given the go-ahead signal by their physicians to resume their sex lives after recovering from a heart attack.

Most heart patients used to worry about whether their raised heartbeats during sex would trigger a heart attack. Now it seems that such fears were due to old wives' tales. The information on the matter is scanty at best.

Sex is not as strenuous an activity as say climbing a flight of stairs or going out for a constitutional. Over 536 heart disease patients between 30 and 70 years of age were studied. They were told to record their sexual activity during the year before they suffered a heart attack. Heart attacks, strokes and CV diseases were among the list of markers.

Almost 15% of the patients led a dull life without any exciting sex in it and 5% had sex less than once per month. 25% had sex at least once a week and 55% were doing the "beast with two backs" twice a week. After a decade, the results were tallied.

At least a hundred different incidents of health crises occurred among the patients. But nowhere was it found that there was a correlation or even any connection between sexual activity and heart disease.

The time when sexual intercourse was engaged in before the heart attack was also noted down. Less than 0.7% had sex an hour before the heart attack. More than 78% had sex at least a day before the heart attack.

Thus the evidence is conclusive. Sexual activity is not a major trigger of heart disease among those patients at risk for the malady. The important thing is to reassure outpatients that they can resume their sex lives with the least bit of worry or anxiety.

The only catch in all this was the erectile dysfunction problems in those males taking CV disease medicine. When these patients were given erectile dysfunction medicine, their blood pressure levels dropped suddenly giving rise to additional apprehension.

"Based on our data, it seems very unlikely that sexual activity is a relevant trigger of heart attack," said Dietrich Rothenbacher, M.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study and professor and chair of the Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry at Ulm University in Ulm, Germany.

"Less than half of men and less than a third of women are getting information about sexual activity after heart attack from their doctors. It is important to reassure patients that they need not be worried and should resume their usual sexual activity."

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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