Post Heart Attack Patients, Sex is Okay

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It has been clarified by the AHA (American Heart Association) that those people who have suffered from heart attack and those with preexisting heart conditions can perform sexual activity. The only caution they gave is that women must be informed on how to use contraceptive techniques and methods in order to counter the possible harms of pregnancy in their condition. For men, they have warned about the drugs for ED which may cause adverse effects and worsen their cardiovascular conditions.

The statement of AHA was published in the AHA journal, Circulation. This article contains diverse information from experts on heart diseases, exercise, physiology and sexual counseling. According to Glenn Levine, lead author and professor of Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston:

“Sexual activity is a major quality of life issue for men and women with cardiovascular disease and their partners … Unfortunately, discussions about sexual activity rarely take place in the clinical context.”

Clarifying this issue is important because according to him, deprivation of sexual functions among men and women with heart attack often lead to anxiety and depression. Previously, sexual activity has been discouraged among people with heart problems with the fears of having an exacerbation of their condition. However, the reality is that sexual activity doesn’t put too much stress on the heart to become a problem. The article also showed that the total rate of cardiovascular attacks due to sexual activities is relatively low. Levine added that, “Some patients will postpone sexual activity when it is actually relatively safe for them to engage in it … On the other hand, there are some patients for whom it may be reasonable to defer sexual activity until they’re assessed and stabilized.”

The following is an excerpt from the said article found in the online edition of Circulation, Jan. 19, 2012:

-          After a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, it is worthwhile for physicians or healthcare providers to evaluate patients before they resume sexual activity, and patients can always seek advice from their doctor.

-          Cardiac rehabilitation and regular physical activity can reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications related to sexual activity in people who have had heart failure or a heart attack.

-          Women with cardiovascular disease should be counseled on the safety and advisability of contraceptive methods and pregnancy, based on their patient profile.

-          Patients with severe heart disease who have symptoms with minimal activity, or while at rest, should not be sexually active until their cardiovascular disease symptoms are stabilized with appropriate treatment.

-          Patients should be assessed to see if their sexual dysfunction is related to underlying vascular or cardiac disease, anxiety, depression or other factors.

Here is a video from CBS with a debate about sex after heart attack.

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