People who maintain a healthy sex life after suffering from a heart attack have higher survival rates in the long run, according to a new study. The research paper published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology says that not having sex fearing it would trigger another episode of attack may not be a wise decision.
The researchers studied 495 couples, aged 65 or below (average age 53), over a period of over 20 years. The patients had their first heart attack in 1993. Close to 90 per cent of the subjects were men. The study found that those patients who maintained their sexual activity or increased the frequency in the initial six months after having their first heart attack were at a 35 per cent lower level of risk of death, compared to those who reduced their frequency of having sex or stopped it altogether.
The study said that resuming sexual activity soon after a heart attack could be part of an individual’s perception of a healthy, functioning and energetic person. “Patients should resume sexual activity as soon as possible, preferably within a few days after hospital discharge,” CNN quoted Professor Yariv Gerber of Tel Aviv University in Israel as saying. “Sexuality and sexual activity are markers of wellbeing,” said the professor.
The researchers admitted that though sudden physical exertion, which happens in case of sex, can trigger heart problems, risk in the long term reduces due to regular physical activity. Gerber said people who can do physical activities like jogging and climbing stairs are safe to have sexual activity.
He underlined that the research does not assume that sexual activity is the only factor influencing the survival rates. They took other factors also into account like obesity and socioeconomic status etc. The benefits were “mostly attributable to a reduction in non-cardiovascular mortality such as cancer.”
Gerber also advised that people should consult their doctors before reaching to conclusions as every patient’s case may be different. He remarked that sexual activity can lead to healthy relationships between spouses and give a positive mindset to the patient, which could boost their long term survival.