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Friday, January 20, 2012

Sex is safe for heart patients

Sulaiman Kamal | 10:14 PM | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Good news: Sex is safe for most heart patients. If you're healthy enough to walk up two flights of stairs without chest pain or gasping for breath, you can have a love life.
That advice from a leading doctors' group addresses one of the most pressing, least discussed issues facing survivors of heart attacks and other heart patients.
In its first science-based recommendations on the subject, the American Heart Association says having sex only slightly raises the chance for a heart attack. And that's true for people with and without heart disease.

Surprisingly, despite the higher risk for a heart patient to have a second attack, there's no evidence that they have more sex-related heart attacks than people without cardiac disease.
Many heart patients don't think twice about climbing stairs, yet many worry that sexual activity will cause another heart attack, or even sudden death, said Dr Glenn Levine, lead author of a report detailing the recommendations and a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
The report says sex is something doctors should bring up with all heart patients. Yet few do because they're uncomfortable talking about it or they lack information, Levine said. The new guidance is designed to fill that gap.
Heart patients should get a doctor's OK before engaging in sexual activity. Many may be advised first to do cardiac rehab — exercise while being monitored for heart symptoms, to improve heart strength and increase physical fitness. But the heart association says most eventually will be cleared to resume sexual activity.
"The risk of having a heart attack during sexual activity is two to three times higher than when not having sexual activity. However, this increased risk of heart attack during sexual activity represents only a very small part of a person's overall risk of having a heart attack, and sexual activity is the cause of less than 1 percent of all heart attacks," Levine said.
Among heart attack survivors, average risks for another heart attack or sudden death are about 10 in 1 million per hour; having sex increases that to about 20 to 30 in 1 million per hour of sexual activity, the new report says. People without heart disease face lower overall risks for a heart attack, but similar risks for a sex-related attack.
The updated advice was released online Thursday in the heart association journal,Circulation.


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