A heart attack is a common and serious health issue. But it doesn’t have to prevent you from having a satisfying sexual relationship with your partner.
According to the American Heart Association, in the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. While many women think heart disease is something that only happens to men, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease. And if going through menopause isn’t challenging enough to your sex life, after you’ve had a heart attack, you may worry that you’re too fragile for sex; that getting excited or having an orgasm could cause another heart attack.
There is some good news: you don’t have to avoid sex for fear of having another heart attack!
A recent study analyzed data from 536 patients with heart disease who were between the ages of 30 and 70 and found that sexual activity was the equivalent amount of physical activity as climbing two flights of stairs or taking a brisk walk.
Patients were asked to complete questionnaires about their sexual activity. Nearly 15% were sexually inactive in the months leading up to their heart attack, almost five percent had sex less than once per month, roughly 25% had sex less than once a week, and 55% had sex at least once weekly.
The researchers analyzed the patients’ sexual activity from the 12 months leading up to their heart attack and estimated the link between the frequency of their sexual encounters with future heart problems, such as having a fatal heart attack, stroke or death from any form of cardiovascular disease.
During the 10 years after the study patient’s heart attack, the researchers found 100 heart related problems. Their assessment, however, concluded that sexual activity was not a risk factor for future problems. The research was published Sept. 21 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Only 0.7% of the participants reported having sex within an hour of having their heart attack. More than 78% reported that their last sexual activity occurred more than 24 hours before the heart attack.
Dr. Dietrich Rothenbacher, chair of the Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry at Ulm University in Ulm, Germany was quoted as saying that, “Based on our data, it seems very unlikely that sexual activity is a relevant trigger of heart attack.”
Unfortunately, “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 don’t have to worry and should resume their usual sexual activity,” Dr. Rothenbacher commented.
It is important to note that some heart drugs could have sexual side effects, such as erectile dysfunction for the male partner. In addition, when used in combination, certain heart drugs and medications used to treat erectile dysfunction can cause a drop in blood pressure, which can potentially increase the risk of heart attack. Be sure to ask your doctor about any medications you or your partner is taking and what their risks are and how they might affect intimacy.
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