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Is Sex Good for Seniors?

Is Sex Good for Seniors?

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By    |   Tuesday, 06 September 2016 12:24 PM


Frequent sex in a man's golden years puts him at higher risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. However, sex can lower the risk of hypertension in older women. The findings were the result of the first large-scale study of how sex affects heart health in the golden years.


"These findings challenge the widely held assumption that sex brings uniform health benefits to everyone," said lead researcher Hui Liu of Michigan State University.


Liu and her colleagues analyzed survey data from more than 2,200 men and women who were aged 57 to 85 in 2005-06 when the researchers began collecting data. Data was collected again five years later.


Cardiovascular risk was measured as hypertension, rapid heart rate, elevated C-reactive protein and general cardiovascular events: heart attack, heart failure and stroke.


Older men who had sex at least once a week had a much higher risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event than men who were sexually inactive. The study found no increased risk among women.


"Strikingly, we find that having sex once a week or more puts older men at a risk for experiencing cardiovascular events that is almost two times greater than older men who are sexually inactive," said Liu. "Moreover, older men who found sex with their partner extremely pleasurable or satisfying had higher risk of cardiovascular events than men who did not feel so."


She said the findings suggest the strain and demands from a sexual relationship may be more important for men as they get older and become increasingly frail and suffer more sexual problems.


"Because older men have more difficulties reaching orgasm for medical or emotional reasons than do their younger counterparts, they may exert themselves to a greater degree of exhaustion and create more stress on their cardiovascular system in order to achieve climax," she said.


Testosterone levels and the use of medication to improve sexual function may also play a role, "Although scientific evidence is still rare," Liu said, "it is likely that such sexual medication or supplements have negative effects on older men's cardiovascular health.


"Physicians should talk to older male patients about potential risks of high levels of sexual activity and perhaps screen those who frequently have sex for cardiovascular issues," she said.


For women, it was a different story. Female participants who found sex to be extremely pleasurable or satisfying had lower risk of hypertension five years later than female participants who did not feel so.


The news for women was much better. "Good sexual quality may protect older women from cardiovascular risk in later life," Liu said.


In addition to the emotional benefits of a close relationship, women may also gain health benefits from the female sexual hormone that's released during orgasm.


Previous studies have shown that simply growing older doesn't mean that seniors are no longer interested in sex. A study conducted at Duke University found that not only were people over 65 still having sex, 20 percent of them said their sex lives were better than at any previous time in their lives.


An Australian study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that almost half of men aged 75 to 95 still considered sex to be an important part of their lives.


The new study was published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

 

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Frequent sex in a man's golden years puts him at higher risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. However, sex can lower the risk of hypertension in older women. The findings were the result of the first large-scale study of how sex affects heart health in...
sex, good, seniors, heart, disease
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2016-24-06
Tuesday, 06 September 2016 12:24 PM
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