Sex Not Likely to Cause Heart Attacks

It's a common notion that people with heart disease should avoid sex because they'll be at risk of having a heart attack.

Not true, concludes a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. In fact, the researchers at Ulm University in Germany said sexual activity may serve as a mild aerobic activity and could actually help reduce heart attack risk.

They said the common misconception is that sex is more rigrous than it really is. It's more like a brisk walk or climbing two staircases.

For the study, 536 heart disease patients from 30 to 70 years old filled out a self-reported questionnaire on the frequency of sexual activity during the 12 months prior to their heart attack.

The responses were:

  • None - 14.9 percent
  • Less often than once per month - 4.7 percent
  • Less often once per week - 25.4 percent
  • One or more times per week – 55 percent

During the 10-year follow-up period, there were 100 heart disease-related incidents amongst the participants. Based on the timing of the answers, 78 percent reported sexual activity more than 24 hours before their heart attack and only 0.7 percent reported sexual activity an hour before their heart attack.

The researchers concluded that based on these findings, it is very unlikely sexual activity was a trigger for heart attacks.

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