MEDICAL WARNING: Read Carefully
Occasional sex can boost heart attack risk. Results similar for weekend hockey players who are not used to stress
By Sharon Kirkey, Postmedia News March 23, 2011
A night of hot and heavy sex can end in a lot of heavy breathing. And not in a good way.
A new analysis appears to confirm that sex, like other forms of physical activity, can trigger a heart attack -especially among those who aren't accustomed to the, um, exertion.
The increase in risk is relatively fleeting: a brief "hazard period" lasting about one to two hours during and after the activity.
And, most importantly, the effect is less pronounced among those with high levels of "habitual exertion" who engage in regular physical activity.
Based on a body of work stretching nearly two decades, the analysis found that "episodic sexual activity," or a bout of sex, is associated with a 2.7-fold increased risk of myocardial infarction over a short period of time.
Translation: Making love could land you in hospital.
Episodic physical activity, meanwhile, was associated with a 3.5-times increased risk of heart attack over one to two hours -as well as an increased risk of sudden cardiac death.
The results mirror those of studies showing that weekend hockey warriors -middle-age adults who play recreational hockey intermittently -are at greater risk of heart attacks because they're not accustomed to the stress on their bodies.
"Acute cardiac events are a major cause of morbidity and mortality, with as many as a million acute myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) and 300,000 cardiac arrests occurring in the United States each year," the authors write in this week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
More than 75,000 heart attacks occur in Canada each year, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Despite the known benefits of regular physical activity, "we knew that, at least anecdotally, there is an association between physical activity or sexual activity and heart attacks or sudden cardiac deaths," said lead author Dr. Issa Dahabreh, a research associate at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
"We were aware of some of the studies that were out there," Dahabreh said.
The team combined the best they could find, summarizing the evidence and looking for patterns.
They analyzed a total of 14 studies that together involved about 6,000 people.
Most participants tended to be in their 50s or 60s, and there were more men than women.
The studies looked at what happened in the few hours before a heart attack or sudden cardiac death, and then compared it to a "control" period -for instance, the same hour period in the week before the heart attack occurred.
The analysis found that episodic physical and sexual activity is associated with a statistically significant -albeit short-term -increase in the risk of "acute cardiac events."
"Any effect would likely be the few hours while the individual is exercising or having sex, and maybe one or two hours after," Dahabreh said.
The studies included diverse physical activities, such as jogging, swimming or climbing stairs.
Overall, the absolute risks were small: For every 10,000 people who exercised an additional hour a week, there would be one to two cases of heart attack or sudden cardiac death per year that could be attributed to physical exertion or sex, said co-author Jessica Paulus, an assistant professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.
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I've not had "That Call" for a umm... "Happy" induced cardic, but I have a friend who used to work with the local coroner before he joined the army. Kal's story is that the local Mayor had a way with the ladies who were not necessarily his wife. He sort of ended up in a bad way.... something about a tent pole in the body bag...... :o