Sex does not trigger heart attacks

It is ‘very unlikely' that sex can trigger a heart attack and the majority of heart disease patients who suffer a heart attack are safe to resume sexual activity afterwards, a new study has found.

According to German researchers, people who have suffered a heart attack are often concerned that sexual activity will trigger another attack. However to date, few studies have looked at the potential harm and benefits of sexual activity in heart disease patients.

They decided to investigate this further. They evaluated the sexual activity of 536 heart disease patients, all aged between 30 and 70, in the year before they suffered a heart attack. They wanted to see if there were any links between sexual activity and any subsequent cardiovascular events, such as a heart attack or stroke.

The researchers pointed out that sexual activity usually involves only moderate physical activity, comparable to taking a brisk walk or climbing two staircases.

The study found that almost 15% of the participants had not had any sex in the year before their heart attack, 25% said they had sex less than once a week, while 55% reported one or more times per week.

During a 10-year follow-up period, 100 adverse heart events occurred, however sexual activity was not found to be a risk factor for these subsequent adverse events.

"Based on our data, it seems very unlikely that sexual activity is a relevant trigger of heart attack. It is important to reassure patients that they need not be worried and should resume their usual sexual activity (after a heart attack)," said the study's lead author, Prof Dietrich Rothenbacher, of Ulm University.

Details of these findings are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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[Posted: Tue 22/09/2015]

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