The risk of suffering a heart attack doesn’t have to mean the end of your sex life. In fact, having a healthy sex life can be a part of reducing your overall heart attack risk.
According to the American Heart Association
, Dr. Glenn N. Levine, a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine says, “Some patients will postpone sexual activity when it is actually relatively safe for them to engage in it.”
“Sexual activity is a major quality of life issue for men and women with cardiovascular disease and their partners,” said Levine, who’s also the director of the Cardiac Care Unit at the Michael E. DeBakey Medical Center in Houston
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Dr. Holly Thacker at the Cleveland Clinic
said sex can be good for the heart, relieve pain and aid sleep.
“If you can walk up a flight of stairs briskly, you have enough cardiac output to engage in sexual activity,” says Thacker, who directs the clinic’s Center for Specialized Women's Health.
Research from Harvard Medical School
renders sexual intercourse relatively minor compared to other forms of physical exertion when measured in metabolic equivalents.
Having sex will burn roughly two to three METs, according to former Harvard Health Executive Editor Patrick J. Skerrett , who equates that output to “light housework.”
Even at orgasm, which could double the METs expended, Skerrett says that couples are still exerting themselves less than they would while performing more strenuous chores like “shoveling a light snow,” with a rating of six to seven METs.
The National Institutes of Health, however, recommended
waiting two weeks following a heart attack or procedure before engaging in sexual activity to avoid triggering a heart attack.
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But sex can still be a part of a healthy lifestyle.
According to Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic
, an NIH study found that men who have more frequent sex experience fewer instances of cardiovascular disease.
Whether you feel ready or not, all these experts recommend that you talk with your doctor before engaging in sexual activity to assess your risk of heart attack.
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