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How soon should you have sex after a heart attack?

The day after? A study in the "Journal of the American Heart Association" reports a major problem.

Being shot by a jealous lover at 95 years of age is my idea of the best way to leave this planet. But suppose you’re younger and have survived a coronary attack or bypass surgery? Is a little romp in the bed safe? Or is it time to switch to backgammon?

A study published in "The Journal of the American Heart Association" about this reports a major problem. Women who asked their doctors questions about sex received vague answers. In fact, some patients simply gave up sex following a coronary as they were too embarrassed to ask their doctors about it.

Another problem is depression. It’s hard not to be a bit uptight when you have survived a brush with death. This can lead to psychological issues.
Dr. Nieca Goldberg, at Lennox Hill Hospital in New York, says “female patients worry about increased heart rate and sweating during sex after a heart attack, and have increased rates of depression.”

But if you’re not depressed, feeling frisky and counting the days before you can resume sex, how long must you wait? Guidelines issued by The Princeton Consensus Panel suggest that sexual activity is too risky during the first two weeks after a heart attack, but that 70 per cent of patients are of low risk and can resume sexual activity within three to four weeks. The other 30 per cent may require further testing before being given the green light.

A study reported in "The Journal of the American Medical Association" followed 1,774 heart attack patients and it had better news. It found that there was only a 20 in 1,000,000 chance of having a second heart attack during sex, much better than the odds at Las Vegas. In fact, researchers claimed that anger was three times more likely than sexual activity to trigger a coronary death.

Another study at the University of Maryland found that even men suffering from chronic heart failure could safely engage in sex. This more realistic view makes sense when you consider the amount of energy involved in sexual activity. A report published in the Johns Hopkins bulletin, “Health after 50”, says sexual intercourse requires the same amount of physical exertion as walking on a treadmill at three to four miles an hour or climbing two flights of stairs. So the majority of people should look on sex as an enjoyable workout. And we all know that workouts are of little value unless they become routine.

But I’d like to add a word of caution since I have no desire to be responsible for death in the bedroom. Don’t use sex to enter "The Guinness Book of Records" after a heart attack. Some coronary patients never say die and have to prove their prowess as soon as possible. I recall a speaker at a medical meeting who reported that one patient, in a private room, engaged in sex the day after an attack. He certainly should be awarded A plus for his enthusiasm, but he could also have been on next morning’s obituary page.

Patients who initiate sex following a heart attack should let their doctor know if they experience chest pain, shortness of breath, an irregular heart rate, dizziness or undue fatigue. Looking at the overall picture, several other factors are more important than sex in circumventing another coronary event. Moreover, a satisfactory sex life is vital to a happy marriage whether or not it’s been interrupted by heart attack. As I’ve often told patients, “sex is only five per cent of a marriage, but the first five per cent.”

Moreover, sex is a 100-per-cent natural remedy, a good way to relieve stress and anxiety, rather than reaching for anti-depressants or sleeping pills. In fact, a study at Queen’s University showed that having sex three times a week cut the risk of heart attack in half.

Having said all this, I still believe being shot by a jealous lover is a great way to depart this planet. But now as years have passed by, I’m extending that age to 100.
By: Dr. W. Gifford-Jones, in NorthernLife.ca  Dr. W. Gifford-Jones (Dr. Ken Walker) has published a weekly medical column in Canada for the past 30 years. Visit his website docgiff.com Read full article

Editor's Notes: SexMD states: It probably won't  take much convincing to follow this general rule, but you should know it, anyway—the more sex you have, the healthier you'll be. Not only can it help your general mood (thereby reducing stress), but studies show there are tangible ways sex slows down the aging process, fights disease and even heals wounds. Here, are a few of the ways getting it on can save you a trip to the ER;

Prevention of heart attacks includes lots of sex. A study in the American Journal of Cardiology suggests that men who have sex twice a week have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) than men who have less frequent sex. And this was true even after researchers adjusted for erectile dysfunction. Analyzing the health records of 1,165 men who were monitored for 16 years as part of the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, epidemiologists at the New England Research Institutes found that men who had sexual activity once a month or less were at 50 percent greater risk of cardiovascular disease than the men who had sex more than once a week.

Sex relieves stress, a major cause of heart attacks. Research at the University of the West of Scotland shows that sex, like exercise, releases anxiety, lowers stress hormones, and can help people cope with mental pressure for at least a week. In the study, 46 men and women were put in a stressful situation involving speaking and working math problems in front of a tough audience. Participants were also asked to keep a diary of their sexual activity for two weeks prior to the test. Those who had sex were the least stressed out, and their blood pressures returned to normal faster after the public speaking test. "People who had penile-vaginal intercourse did twice as well as people who only masturbated or had no sex at all," says psychologist and lead researcher Stuart Brody.

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