Surviving a heart attack may cast doubts on one's ability to get back to being intimate with a partner. However, choosing to hop back into the saddle soon may prove more beneficial to the patient and could even boost survival rates.

A new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology titled, "Resumption of sexual activity after acute myocardial infarction and long-term survival" showed the resumption of the frequency of sexual activity within the first months after a heart attack was linked to improved survival in the long run. It also highlighted the need for sexual counselling after a bout with myocardial infarction (MI).

A team of researchers analysed 495 sexually active people who were aged 65 and below and who were admitted to the hospital between 1992 and 1993 due to MI. The data was derived from the Israel Study of First Acute Myocardial Infarction. Among the patients, about 90 percent were male and the average age was 53.

Researchers noted that 47 percent abstained or decreased sexual activity after a heart attack and 53 percent increased or maintained it. Data showed that in the succeeding 22 years, about 43 percent of patients died. However, patients who resumed their sexual activity, either maintaining it or even increasing it during the immediate six months following the heart attack, their risk of death was lowered by 35 percent.

Yariv Gerber, lead author of the study and the head of Tel Aviv University's School of Public Health, revealed in a press release that sexual activity and sexuality are markers of a person's well-being. The resumption of sexual activity after suffering from a heart attack could be a part of the perception of a person as a young, healthy, and energetic. Hence, this could also lead to a healthier lifestyle. On the other hand, for those who think that their health is poor, they are also less likely to resume sexual activities.

Sex after heart attack Photo: Pixabay

The researchers underscored that sex is actually a form of exercise. It can increase blood pressure and heart rate. However, there are those who fear it and deem it as a possible trigger for heart attack. But then, regular physical activities have been shown to reduce the risk of heart-related diseases.