Sex can trigger heart attacks, especially if you don’t have it enough

Alyssa Moody Contributor
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A new study published by the American Medial Association found that sexual intercourse or any sharp increase in physical exertion can increase risk of heart attack in persons who are not physically active on a regular basis.  Researchers said Tuesday that the risk of myocardial infarction triples in persons who do not engage in sex on a regular basis versus those that do. Sex can lead to an increased strain on the heart because it involves not only extreme physical exertion, but also prompts emotional arousal that increases adrenaline and heart rate. In order to have a healthy heart; have sex, and have it often.

The research was lead by Dr. Issa Dahabreh of Tufts Medical Center. Dahabreh and her team analyzed data from previous studies involving more than 6,000 heart patients in their late 50s and early 60s. The research looked at what the patients did in the hours proceeding their heart attacks, and found that people were 3.5 times more likely to have a heart attack or sudden cardiac death during or immediately after engaging in physical activity, and 2.7 times more likely after having sexual intercourse. The study also found that the chance of having a heart attack during physical activity goes down 45 percent for every additional time you do physical activity that week.

Although the increased risk of a heart attack is concerning, the absolute risk of it happening to a person is still very low. Dr. Geoffrey Tofler told CNN that the chance of a heart attack happening after sex is rare as long as a person is regularly active. “If a healthy 50-year-old person has [a] one-in-a-million chance of having a heart attack in any given hour, tripling the risk will still only make three chances in a million of a heart attack in that hour,” he said. The findings are not meant to scare people away from physical activity, but to warn those who do not engage regularly to start slowly and increase over time. The study found that occasional sex can increase the risk of heart attack — so do it more often.