Most heart disease patients put into consideration engaging in sexual activity after a heart attack, because of fear that it may result to fatality. However, a new study suggests that sex does not lead to heart attack and also states that it is safe to engage in it, even after experiencing a heart attack.
According to the research, sexual activity involves moderate physical activity comparable to climbing two staircases or taking a brisk walk.
Researchers looked at 536 heart disease patients between the ages of 30 and 70 years to evaluate sexual activity in the 12 months before a heart attack and estimate the association of frequency of sexual activity with subsequent cardiovascular events, including fatal heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death.
Nearly 14.9 percent of patients reported no sexual activity in the 12 months before their heart attack, 4.7 percent reported sex less than once per month, 25.4 percent reported less than once per week and 55 percent reported one or more times per week.
During 10 years of follow up, 100 adverse cardiovascular events occurred in patients in the study. The researchers found that sexual activity was not a risk factor for subsequent cardiovascular events.
Researchers also evaluated the timing of the last sexual activity before the heart attack. Only 0.7 percent reported sex within an hour before their heart attack.
Over 78 percent reported that their last sexual activity occurred more than 24 hours before the heart attack.
"Based on our data, it seems very unlikely that sexual activity is a relevant trigger of heart attack," said Dr Dietrich Rothenbacher, 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," said Dr Rothenbacher.
Researchers said that although sexual activity may not be a concern, other medical complications may cause issues. Patients should be clearly communicated about the possibility of erectile dysfunction, which is often a side effect of taking heart medications.
The research is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.