Having Sex After a Heart Attack
Sex After a Heart Attack
Did you know that 4 out of 5 people are afraid to have sex after a heart attack? This includes partners of heart patients who can worry and are afraid to have sex after a heart attack. Or course, many people are scared, and start worrying if they are going to have another heart attack.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death of men and women in North America. Surviving a heart attack should be considered fortunate and it becomes very important to ensure that all your risk factors to heart disease are under control in order to have sex after a heart attack. Patience becomes very important and wanting to get back to your regular routine takes a little bit of time – this includes having sex after a heart attack.
Asking your healthcare provider about having sex after a heart attack can be awkward. It is kind of like the elephant in the room. The fact there is a slim chance that doctors will ask you about your sex life unless you bring it up and you are not likely to receive sex counseling after a heart attack. You are 100 percent responsible for your heart health. So it is up to you to address and seek out the solution.
Having sex after a heart attack can feel uneasy and it becomes important to understand that this does not last. This goes for commencing most activities. It is important to start out slowly and working your way back to your where you would like to be. Start out slowly allowing adequate time for foreplay, so you can get your heart rate up gradually. This also helps to find that intimacy between you and your partner. It is known that there is a small tiny risk of a cardiovascular event occurring during sexual activity especially with sex after a heart attack, and this risk is minimized by focusing on your risk factors to heart disease which includes increasing your fitness level.
When you engage in sex after a heart attack, it does make your heart work harder by increasing your heart rate and by increasing your blood pressure, however the work on your heart is not as hard as many people think. When we look at any physical activity we gage this measure in METS, which stand for metabolic equivalents. METS are a unit in which we use to calculate the level of physical activity or energy expended. One MET is the energy it takes to sit quietly. Therefore, if walking takes 3.5 METS this means that you are going 3.5 times your resting level. Having sex after a heart attack, sexual intercourse can take anywhere from 2 METS to 4.5 METS, therefore starting out slowly is important.
There is no need to be afraid of sex because of your heart condition. Experiment with different sexual positions to determine which ones feel comfortable and which ones are not. Find that position so it does not put so much pressure on your breastbone (on your back for men or side to side). You can let your partner be on top and this will reduce the workload on your heart during sex. It is important to have open communication with your partner to discuss any concerns. As always you can always discuss concerns you have with your physician. As I mentioned, walking into your doctor’s office, and discussing sex is not easy. However in our cardiac rehabilitation program, it is a common question that gets addressed, especially via email.
One thing I guarantee is that when you start to commence your exercise routine with your Cardiac Rehabilitation centre, you will increase your fitness level. When your fitness level increases you gain more confidence to perform activities you enjoy doing such as having sex after a heart attack. You will have increased energy and an increased fitness level to enjoy the pleasure of sexual intercourse.
Diamond Fernandes. heart health authority and author on heart disease. He is the founder and director of the Heart Fit Clinic. He had well over 15 years of experience in cardiac rehabilitation.
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