Sex After a Heart Attack? May Be Just What You Need!
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
After surviving a heart attack, one of the last things on a person’s mind is probably sex! But according to a recent study conducted in Israel and published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, sex may be a key component to include in your heart attack survival guide.
The study involved nearly 500 sexually active patients who were 65 and under. These patients were put in the hospital for their first heart attack between 1992 to 1993. (The average age was 53, and 90 percent of the patients were men).
Information about how often a patient had sex was obtained through patient interviews. They were asked about frequency of sex during the year before the first heart attack and then frenquency of sex three to six months after surviving the first heart attack.
Based off their answers, the patients were put into two groups: those who abstained from sex or had less sex after the heart attack and then those who maintained the amount of sex or increased it after the heart attack. Forty-seven percent fell into the first group while 53 percent fell into the latter.
During a median follow-up of 22 years, 211 (43 percent) patients died.
“Maintaining/increasing the frequency of sexual activity within the first six months after a heart attack was associated with a 35% lower risk of death compared with abstaining/reducing the frequency of sexual activity,” according to this Medical Xpress report discussing the study.
Furthermore, “The survival benefit linked with maintaining/increasing the frequency of sexual activity was mostly attributable to a reduction in non-cardiovascular mortality such as cancer.”
"Sexuality and sexual activity are markers of wellbeing," said Professor Yariv Gerber, study author.
"Resumption of sexual activity soon after a heart attack may be a part of one's self-perception as a healthy, functioning, young and energetic person. This may lead to a healthier lifestyle generally."
To put it simply, sex involves exercise. It increases heart rate and blood pressure. As discussed in a previous blog, some key actions to take after surviving a heart attack include exercising (per guidance of a competent healthcare professional), making healthy dietary changes (also with guidance) and avoiding smoking if you are a smoker. So it would make sense that sex could also be an important component of a proactive plan to maintain health after surviving a heart attack.
But, again, it’s not just about avoiding cardiovascular issues. Sex may contribute to overall better health and a longer life.
Keep in mind that every person is different and every heart attack is different. It is always good to speak with your doctor or a competent healthcare professional about how soon sex is appropriate for you after a heart attack.
In one report from CNN, Professor Gerber (the study author mentioned earlier) said that people who can climb stairs or walk a mile with no issues are in the clear to have sex after a heart attack. He even said that it is best to have sex “as soon as possible...preferably within a few days after hospital discharge.”Again, speak with your doctor.
It’s understandable if your libido is not exactly at its all time high after having a heart attack. Certain medications may also play a role in reducing your sex drive. Ease into it and focus on comprehensive health and preventative healthcare strategies such as maintaining a nutrient-rich diet with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies (this is also called an anti-inflammatory diet). It is also imperative to exercise, avoid smoking and drink alcohol in moderation (if at all). If you are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath or other concerning symptoms, avoid sex until you speak with your doctor and discuss your symptoms.
It is also extremely important to maintain nutritional balance. Taking routine nutrient tests will identify whether you have too much or too little of a specific nutrient. These tests are especially important when you take medications because certain medications will deplete the body of the nutrients you need to stay healthy. A competent healthcare professional can always work with you on making the necessary dietary changes and possibly recommend quality supplements you can take to balance your nutrient intake.
For additional tips on how you can improve your sexual and reproductive health, check out this pH Labs blog. And for more information on how you can keep your heart healthy, click here.
Enjoy your healthy life!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.