American Heart Association Says Sex is OK for Most With Heart Disease

By Emily Murray

For those living with heart disease, a bit of news released by the American Heart Association may be of interest. If everyday relatively strenuous activities can be done without loss of breath or chest pain, like climbing two flights of stairs for example, then engaging in sexual activity is thought to be very low risk.

For patients who have survived a heart attack, often the fear of having another one can lead many to avoid anything they think might trigger one. Unfortunately, sex seems to fall into that category for a lot of people and it’s not always something they are comfortable speaking with their doctor about.

This week, in the first statement of it’s kind from the the American Heart Association, it’s been declared that sexual activity poses no immediate risk for most with stable heart disease. This was released in the heart association journal called Circulation.

Of course it is also recommended that patients talk to their doctor first in case they need to partake in any type of cardiac rehab to help get their heart and health to a better level of fitness before engaging in anything strenuous. What may be surprising to some is that there is no evidence that shows that patients who have had a heart attack are at a higher risk of having a second one during sexual activity than their peers without heart disease.

There are certain situations however which have been discovered to make sex a bit riskier for a patient’s heart  based on scientific research- 

1. While many of us may think this is never advisable or goes without saying anyway, it is important to note the potential risk to your heart if you are a married men having an affair… particularly with a younger women in an unfamiliar location. The reason behind this is that there is a lot of stress associated with these types of sexual excursions and that can cause an increase in the risk for heart attack.

2. If you can’t walk up a few flights of stairs without experiencing difficulty breathing or chest pains, than sex may in fact be a health risk.

For those who are not in these situations, it’s believed that taking ED medications, like Viagra for example, is generally safe.

The following at statistics which were published in a recent TIME article on the subject –  

  • Among those who have survived a heart attack, the risk for having another heart attack or experiencing “sudden death” or roughly 10 in 1 million/hour of sexual activity. Engaging in sexual intercourse raises that slightly to about 20 to 30 in 1 million/hour according the recently released information.
  • There are similar risks when it comes to those without heart disease when sex is involved.
  • Essentially this means that the risk of having a heart attack does increase nearly 2 to 3 times during sex than what not having sex, but there are many factors that are also not included that are leading causes of heart attack.

If you have heart disease or have recently had a heart attack, it may be uncomfortable to bring up the subject of sex with your doctor, but it is a conversation worth having. Intimacy is important for most relationships and if you are scared to partake for fear of a heart attack, a doctor can help you figure out how valid or invalid your fears may be.