It's official: Sex never triggers a heart attack

  • IANS, London
  • Updated: Sep 22, 2015 16:04 IST

You've always hoped it is true, but wanted science to confirm it for you. It is here now. If you have suffered a heart attack and feel that exertion between the sheets can be further detrimental to the health of your heart, just chill and plan some real action tonight. According to researchers, sex can never trigger a heart attack and for those who has suffered one, its is absolutely safe to resume sexual activity.

"Based on our data, it seems very unlikely that sexual activity is a relevant trigger of heart attack," said Dietrich Rothenbacher, professor and chair of the institute of epidemiology and medical biometry at Ulm University in Ulm, Germany. According to the researchers, sexual activity generally involves moderate physical activity comparable to climbing two staircases or taking a brisk walk.

"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," he explained.

To reach this conclusion, the researchers looked at 536 heart disease patients between the age 30 and 70 to evaluate sexual activity in the 12 months before a heart attack. During 10 years of follow up, 100 adverse cardiovascular events occurred in patients in the study.

Sexual activity was not a risk factor for subsequent adverse cardiovascular events. Researchers also evaluated the timing of the last sexual activity before the heart attack. Only 0.7% reported sex within an hour before their heart attack. "In comparison, over 78% reported that their last sexual activity occurred more than 24 hours before the heart attack," the authors noted.

Despite the benefits of sexual activity outweighing risks, the potential of erectile dysfunction as a side-effect from medications and the risk of a drop in blood pressure from combining certain heart medications with erectile dysfunction medications should be clearly communicated to patients. Sexual activity can be a concern for many heart attack patients who worry about exertion triggering another heart event, but data on the harms and benefits of sexual activity in heart disease patients is limited.

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

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