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Sex After A Heart Attack

Men who have experienced a heart attack are often concerned and anxious  about having sex in the months and years following it.  research has shown that sexual activity often decreases because of the fear that it may cause another heart attack, possibly leading  to death.

Men also report  higher  levels of erectile  dysfunction (ED, impotence) and decreased levels of sexual  contact than  prior to the attack. A heart attack is a dramatic event in anyone's real life and real life often   comes as a complete shock.  The changes such an even  can have  on the way you think and behave  are often profound.  In many cases, these  changes are good and result in some  positive  life benefits.  However,  unfounded  fears are  counter-productive.  So what should you do?

Be realistic.  Seek out advice to any questions you have and get the information  and advice  from health care professional so that you can lead a full and successful life following  a heart attack.  But do you have to talk  about your sex to  someone you hardly know?  Well,  yes and no.

Following  a heart attack, horny, healthy oldies professionals should know that you will want guidance on a number of issues and they should advice you on lifestyle, medications, exercise  and the sex addict.  The topic  of sex can be a difficult  subject  for both  the patient and medical  staff and the subject  is often  avoided.  Yet, it is  vital that you get the  information so that you can make  a complete  recovery - so ask.

Does one need to worry?

Think  of it this way.  Sex, in general, puts the same amount of pressure on the heart as a brisk  twenty-minute walk, and the the better orgasm diet adds up to a walk up the  stairs.  Statistics suggests that only one  percent  of heart attacks  are triggered by sexual activity.  If you have  had a heart attack and have made lifestyle  changes that lead to a healthier you, then the odds should go even further in your favour!  Do you stop  going up the stairs   or going for a brisk walk because  you have a one percent  chance of gain one organ lose another  heart attack?  No you do not.

Exercise is good for the  heart and sexual activity is just  another form of exercise.  So, contrary to some men's fears, regular  sexual activity actually protects against  death, especially death resulting from heart attack.

How long should one wait  before having sexual  intercourse following a heart attack?

This will depend on the severity of the heart attack.  Tests will have been done prior to your discharge from hospital as to the cause and extent of damage  to the heart.  A progressive  structure  of exercise  and advice on any changes to diet, such as fat reduction, weight loss or low salt, quitting smoking, and a regime of medication, will also  have been advised.   The only way to find out specifics from  your doctor  is by asking  questions.  This is  especially  true about sex.  Most doctors  will say  that as long as no adverse symptoms such as breathlessness  or chest pains  are experienced  on exertion (climbing stairs, a brisk walk), resuming sexual activity  will be safe.

What if I do get chest pains or breathlessness?

If you  do find that you get chest pains  (angina) or breathlessness, then you should discuss it with your doctor.  He/she  may suggest you take  medication such as  sublingual glyceryl tri nitrate.  It could, of course, also be that  your anxiety  and fear are causing the symptoms and if this is  the case then supportive  advice  should alleviate your worries.  If you still experience problems  then the doctor  should refer  you for more specialist help.

If you are suffering  from co-existent erectile dysfunction (ED), you will need to see your andrologist.  He might  want to  medicate you with  one or more  of the newly available wonder  drugs  like Viagra R, Levitra R, or Cialis R for your ED.  Please remember, however, that it you are on nitrates for your heart  disease  it can be dangerous  to take  these  drugs.  With good medical  follow up and support there should be no reason  why you should not return to a full sex life.

Two closing thoughts

Cardiologist Dr Graham Jackson has found that seventy-five  percent  of  death  that do occur during sexual intercourse   are in people having  extramarital affairs and in men who are  much older than their sexual  partners!

So watch out, you naughty boys!  It seems that you might  have to choose where you want all your blood to go-to your heart,  or 'that part'.

Take Home Message:

Shortly after the launch of Viagra R in March 1998, there was some  unfounded initial concern about  its safety in some patient populations, especially in those with co-existent  heart  disease.  Some adverse reports began to appear in the media about side -effects  and deaths  in some patients who had taken Viagra R.  A fear psychosis of sorts was generated. Soon, however, the US FDA stepped in,  and the American Heart Association (AHA),  the American Urological Association (AUA), and the  American College of Cardiology  (ACC) were  called in to  investigate these 'side effects' and 'deaths'.  The investigation revealed that most of these  adverse reactions were caused not by  the drug  per seminal at all, but  by careless patients and doctors who did  not follow  the prescription guidelines,  safety  precautions, and warning  labels.  Those  taking  nitrates and others who were not  supposed to be  taking Viagara R  at all  in the first place advice, and some prescriptions had been  issued  by unscrupulous practitioners through  the internet  without  even examining the patient's medical history.

The current  position on this subject is available  in the Princeton  consensus Conference Statements (Guidelines ) I and II.  The safety/ risk aspects of the relationship between  heart  disease, sex  and the new PDES inhibitor drugs  are discussed in great  detail .

It is  now known  that  many  cardiac patients with heart   disease and erectile dysfunction can use these  new drugs safely  to obtain better erections and enjoy a satisfactory  sex life

Patients and doctors should both learn  to feel more comfortable  discussing  this subject.