Sexual Activity Deemed Safe for Many Heart Patients by AHA

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The American Heart Association has released its first scientifically based statement with recommendations for sexual activity for people with heart conditions or cardiovascular disease. The good news for many with heart problems is that sex is safe.

AHA Scientific Statement on Sex and Cardiovascular Disease

For many heart patients, if they are able to walk briskly or climb two flights of stairs without experiencing chest pain, abnormal heartbeats, or shortness of breath, a normal sex life is possible -- after discussing it with their heart doctor, advises the AHA Scientific statement.

In an interview with HeartWire, lead author of the study underlying the AHA Statement on Sex, Dr. Glenn N. Levine of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, explained that not only are these recommendations about sexual activity and heart disease the most comprehensive to date, but also have been compiled and endorsed by experts in a variety of fields including urology, exercise physiology and sexual counseling in addition to cardiologists.

There are many people who, once diagnosed with a heart condition or who have experienced a heart attack, abstain from sexual activity due to fear that engaging in sex could result in a heart attack or death. Levine, via HeartWire, explained that many heart patients -- and their physicians -- are reluctant to address the topic of sexual activity. The AHA Statement on Sex provides guidelines for safe sexual activity not only for cardiologists, but also general practitioners and physicians in other fields.

Facts on Sex and Heart Health/Safety

According to the AHA Statement on Sex, less than 1 percent of heart attacks are caused by sexual activity, with this risk being even lower for heart patients who are physically active. Among that 1 percent, the largest number of heart attacks experienced were among people involved in extramarital sex.

Following a heart attack or coronary bypass surgery, your physician should advise a certain waiting period before beginning to have sex again. He may also advise that you first increase your overall physical health and endurance through recommended exercise programs and recommend an exercise stress test before resuming sexual activity, recommends the AHA Statement on Sex. People with heart conditions should avoid eating a heavy meal or drinking alcohol before sexual activity as well.

What People Are Potentially Affected by Cardiovascular Disease

Baby boomers and their seniors because, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, people 65 years of age and older represent 19.8 percent of those diagnosed with coronary heart disease and people 45 to 64 years of age represent 7.1 percent of people with CHD. Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, reports that 33 percent of deaths due to CHD occur each year in people younger than 75 years of age.

If you have questions or concerns about your heart health or about sexual activity and your health, consult your health care provider.

Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.

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