People who have heart trouble or who have suffered a heart attack may hesitate to engage in sexual activity, fearing it increases their risk of having a heart attack. Not so, says new research, however. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology revealed that sexual activity typically doesn’t trigger a heart attack, nor does it need to be avoided after a heart attack. Read on to learn what you need to know about sex and heart health.

How Does Sex Affect the Body?

While some people see sex as too strenuous to engage in for anyone who has health issues, including heart trouble and previous heart attacks, the study said sex is much lower impact than people might think. In fact, the study compared it to activities such as taking a brisk walk or climbing two flights of stairs, relatively mundane physical activities that many people engage in without a second thought. If your doctor says it’s OK for you to exercise, it’s likely safe for you to have sex.

Does Sex Ever Prompt a Heart Attack?

The study included 536 heart patients ranging in age from 30 to 70. Researchers tracked sexual activity in the 12 months leading up to a heart attack and any possible connection between sex and additional cardiovascular events. What they found was surprising: Sex was not a risk factor for additional heart-related incidents and did not appear to trigger heart attacks. In addition, the American Heart Association concurs that sex is safe for heart patients whose condition has stabilized. The association notes that because sexual activity is typically short in duration, cardiovascular events rarely occur during it. According to WebMD, less than 1 percent of heart attacks occur during sex.

How to Know If It’s Safe for You to Have Sex

Walker Heart Institute at Washington Regional notes that many people can resume sexual activity anywhere from two days to two weeks following a heart attack. If you can handle moderate exercise such as walking a half-mile or climbing a couple of flights of stairs, you can probably handle sex. While sexual activity is often safe for many heart patients, there may be times when you need to abstain. If you’re unsure, ask your doctor. Patients sometimes feel uncomfortable addressing the issue of sex with their physician, but it’s a common question that your doctor will likely be prepared to answer. If you experience any physical symptoms during sex, you might want to step and get checked out by your doctor before attempting sex again. Warning symptoms include shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, chest palpitations or chest pain.

If you’re concerned about the link between sexual activity and the risk of heart attack, consult a physician today for a physical evaluation. Dr. Lawrence Newman, an experienced and expert urologist in Las Vegas, can answer your questions about everything from erectile dysfunction to prostate issues. Let our experienced and compassionate staff help you today.