Monday, December 9, 2013

Sex after Heart Attack

Heart attack still remains one of the most dreaded words in our lives. Though medical science has revolutionised the way heart attacks are managed, the word sends shivers down the spine when a known to or a loved one suffers a heart attack.

Cardiac rehabilitation, changes in eating habits, losing weight, keeping a healthy life style are all on the table after you have suffered a heart attack. Each and all advise you to go easy on life and avoid stress in personal and professional life. One topic that is essentially missed, however, during discussions is sexual activity after heart attack.

Be it men or women of any age, sexual activity is an important aspect of your life. And with more and more young men and women falling prey to the deadly disease, the topic has become a real cause of concern.  It is very common to lose confidence in your heart’s ability to work under stress after an attack.  And if you have had open heart surgery, your partner would be all the more concerned that the sexual activity might harm you.

American Heart Association (AHA) has released a statement on sexual activity and cardiovascular disease about when it is safe to resume sexual activity after a heart attack- which is probably sooner than you assume.
Before we give you the final answer what doctors at American Heart Association say, it would be good to note an important fact about Heart attack and its connection with sex.

Fact: Less than 1% heart attacks have known to occur during sexual activity. Change in heart rate and blood pressure response is same in men and women during sexual activity, which is maximum during the last 10-15 seconds of orgasm. This also rapidly turns to normal after the orgasm. The activity, as per the doctors,  is equivalent to climbing two flights of stairs in young and middle aged people, whereas in older adults, this is little more.

Experts say that the risk of heart attack during sexual activity in men is just as low as the risk in men who have no coronary artery disease. And same goes for the women as well.

The cases that have been reported to have died of heart attack during sexual activity range from 0.6 to 1.7 percent of which vast majority were men, of which most were having extra marital sex, with a much younger partner in unfamiliar settings, which would have caused a great deal of stress/ anxiety and thus heart failure.

Each one Unique One

Every person has unique situations after a heart attack. Your doctor/ cardiologist will look into the following factors before giving you go ahead for indulging in the sexual activity:

  • Your stress test results: 

You would be advised to undergo stress test to test the functioning of your heart during increased physical activity. If the result is ok, that is you experience no heart stress symptoms such as angina, breathlessness, abnormal heart rhythm or decreased blood pressure, you would be allowed to resume sexual activity.  

  • Whether Angioplasty was done:

If you underwent angioplasty or stenting after the attack, resuming sexual activity can be done in a matter of days. The delay is necessary to heal the puncture site, which is either the upper groin area or the arm.

  • Whether you had an open heart surgery:

If you have had open heart bypass operation, your doctor would normally advise you not to have sexual activity for about 6-8 weeks after the operation. This is for the chest sternum to heal properly.  However, with robotic heart surgery or minimally invasive heart surgery, time for healing is considerably lesser. You should avoid positions that put too much of strain on your chest.

However there definitely are conditions where your cardiologist would say no to sexual activity:

  • Arrythmias- arrhythmias are uncontrolled heart rhythm. In this case it may be dangerous for you to indulge into activities that put stress on your heart.

  • Symptoms of heart failure which are worsening

Be Ware and Aware

The answer to sex after heart attack lies in awareness and avoiding activites that are dangerous for your heart and life. Avoid unfamiliar places and unknown partners which cause anxiety and put extra burden on your heart. Avoid heavy meals and alcohol and stay well rested before the activity. Avoid positions which restrict your ability to breathe easily. Be willing to work out more and increase your stamina for a better experience!!!

About IndiCure

IndiCure is the most trusted name for providing heart treatment in India at best heart hospitals in India having the most advanced technology. We offer minimally invasive heart surgery, heart valve replacement surgery, open heart surgery, pediatric heart surgery in association with best heart specialists in India.

For more information about heart surgery for you or your loved one, write to us at or call us at +91 93200 36777 or +91 98184 62127 or talk to us at skype@IndiCure