Dr Yariv Gerber and his colleagues report in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology that sexual activity appears to reduce deaths associated with non-cardiovascular causes, such as cancer.
However, and even if this is very tempting, one should exercise caution before concluding that these small sessions of pleasure are directly responsible for better survival.
“The conclusion that sexual activity after a heart attack improves survival is a bit exaggerated, because we cannot disentangle the causal link there,” commented Dr. Martin Juneau, of the Montreal Heart Institute.
“For sure, when you’re in good shape and you’re happy, you have more sex. It is difficult to decide if it is really the sexual relations which improve the state, or if it is rather the favorable state which makes them have sexual relations? “
Dr. Gerber and his colleagues looked at some 500 patients aged 65 and under who had been hospitalized for a heart attack in 1992 and 1993.
At the end of a mean follow-up of 22 years, 43% of the subjects had died, but those who had maintained or increased the frequency of their sexual relations during the six months following their heart attack, had reduced their risk of death by 35%.
“It’s a big study that confirms, once again, and I think it’s important to remind people that it’s certainly not dangerous to have sex after a heart attack,” said Doctor Juneau.
Like climbing two floors
“This is a problem that I often encounter with my patients after a heart attack or after heart surgery,” he continues. Often times, the spouse will be very worried or worried about having sex. (…) It is surprising the number of patients, regardless of age, who are afraid. “
Physical activity, including sexual activity, is not only allowed in the vast majority of cases after a heart attack, it is even useful and necessary, Dr. Juneau adds, and even the sickest patients are encouraged to move.
Perhaps the problem stems from the fact that, in the popular imagination, sex is more intense physical activity than it actually is.
“When you look at studies that have compared the physical strain of having sex in a middle-aged couple, that’s not much,” he said. It’s like going up two floors. It’s not something huge, it’s not like playing hockey. ”
Regular sex is also beneficial for mental health, for example to combat anxiety and depression, which can then have a positive impact on the couple.
This is a facet that should not be overlooked, when we know that up to 30% of victims of a heart attack may then suffer from depression.
“Sex is one of the good things in life that you shouldn’t give up,” concluded Dr. Juneau. This study confirms what several other small studies have shown over the past 40 years, that it is not dangerous and that it is good for your health. ”