Risk of heart attack not increased by sex

Risk of heart attack not increased by sexPublished in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers determined that sex does not increase the risk of heart attack and heart attack patients can return back to sexual activities without fear of a second heart attack.

Sex may be deemed a risk of heart attack, especially in those who have had a heart attacked due to exertion. Data reveals that sex can actually offer many benefits to the heart specifically. Data also reveals the level of exertion during sex is actually less than walking up stairs or going for a brisk walk.


To achieve their results the researchers examined 536 heart patients between the ages of 30 and 70, looking at their sexual activity within the 12 months prior to their heart attack. From this they were able to estimate an association between previous sexual activity and future cardiac events.

In questionnaires, 14.9 percent reported no sexual activity within the 12 month period. 4.7 percent reported sex less than once a month, 25.4 percent reported sex less than once a week and 55 percent reported sex more than once a week. During a 10-year follow up, 100 adverse cardiovascular events occurred, but sexual activity was not deemed as an increased risk.

Timing of sexual activity prior to the second cardiac event was also examined and only in 0.7 percent of patients was sex conducted up to an hour before the second heart attack. 78 percent reported the last sexual encounter was up to 24 hours before the second cardiac event.

Lead author, Dietrich Rothenbacher, said, “Based on our data, it seems very unlikely that sexual activity is a relevant trigger of heart attack. Less than half of men and less than a third of women are getting information about sexual activity after heart attack from their doctors. It is important to reassure patients that they need not be worried and should resume their usual sexual activity.”

Sexual performance may be inhibited as a result of a heart attack; it has been associated with erectile dysfunction due to side effects from medications. In this regard, doctors should be open with their patients about what to expect regarding changes in sexual ability.


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.