Resuming sex 3 to 7 months after heart attack may improve odds of survival in the long run

Sexual intercourse can not only improve your mood but is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease and an improved immune system

Myupchar September 25, 2020 09:00:59 IST
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Resuming sex 3 to 7 months after heart attack may improve odds of survival in the long run

Representational image. Reuters

There is plenty of evidence to indicate that sex has both physical and mental benefits. We know that sexual intercourse can not only improve your mood but is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease and an improved immune system.

A recent research study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology on 22nd September 2020, found that people who resumed sexual activity within three to seven months after a heart attack had a better survival rate.

Myocardial infarction and sex

Myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when one of the blood vessels (usually an artery) of the heart gets blocked, resulting in a reduced or complete cessation of blood flow in that portion of the heart.

Scientists from Israel conducted a study on 495 sexually active patients, with a mean age of 53 years, who were already enrolled in the longitudinal Israel Study of First Acute Myocardial Infarction. About 90 percent of these participants were male. All the participants were interviewed when they were admitted to the hospital for the first time and then after 3 to 6 months.

After their first heart attack, 88 percent of the patients, that is 434 participants, resumed their sexual activity within 3 to 7 months.

As compared to the number of times these patients indulged in sexual activity before the heart attack, 263 patients were able to maintain or increase their frequency of having sex.

Specifically,  179 of the 263 were able to maintain their pre-MI sex frequency, while 84 patients showed an increase in the frequency.

However, 171 patients showed reduced sexual activity frequency and the rest abstained from having sex.

All of the 495 participants were monitored for around 22 years, during which time 211 of the patients died.

Results of the study

After following up for almost 22 years, it was found that the chances of survival improved by maintaining or increasing the frequency of sexual activity within the first few months after a heart attack.

However, it was noted that on average, patients who reported an increase in their sexual activity frequency were slightly younger, maintained good overall health, had low scores of depression and higher socioeconomic status than those who abstained or died.

The study also showed that people who maintained or increased their sexual activity after a heart attack had a 35 percent lower risk of death as compared to the people who either became less sexually active or completely refrained from having sex.

Conclusion: Sexual activity is safe after a heart attack

According to the scientists, this study has a lot of drawbacks, as it majorly included men and is more prone to have participation bias, as it is an intrusive study.

However, they concluded that people with a history of myocardial infarction should resume sexual activity after a few months as it is positively associated with long-term survival and does not possess any risk.

For more information, read our article on Heart attack.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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