The Impact of Sex on Heart Disease

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September 30th, 2015

Those who suffer from cardiovascular disease (CVD) have to worry about a lot of things like their diet, exercise, their stress level and their sex life. Lots of us have read a news story or saw a scene in a movie where someone has died of a heart attack during sex. So is it safe for those with CVD to have intercourse? According to guidelines set by the American Heart Association (AHA) if your condition has stabilized, it’s probably safe to have sex. Glenn N. Levine, M.D. was the lead author on the association’s scientific statement on the matter. He is professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. Levine said sexual activity is an important quality of life issue for those wrestling with CVD and their partners. Those scenes where a heart attack during intercourse ends someone’s life are mostly fiction. In truth, such cases are extremely rare.

Levine said that there are couples who avoid sexual activity even when it is safe to do so for fear of disturbing one person’s condition. “On the other hand, there are some patients for whom it may be reasonable to defer sexual activity until they’re assessed and stabilized,” he said. If you have severe CVD symptoms, seek treatment and wait to have sex until stabilization has occurred. Some people avoid talking to their doctor about their sex life when they have a heart condition. But this is an important conversation to have. Don’t wait for the physician to bring it up. Perhaps the doctor should. But he or she may be so preoccupied with other aspects that they forget to ask about it. If you have had severe CVD ask your doctor when it is okay to engage in normal sexual activity. Also discuss with him or her about taking part in a fitness program. Regular physical activity has been proven to lower the risk of complications after a heart attack, heart failure or cardiac rehabilitation. If you have experienced sexual dysfunction, speak with your doctor and see if it is related to your condition.

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