The news story that is the basis of this blog entry reports on a study that found heart attack survivors are fearful of sexual activity. This story belongs in the “Scientists R Stoopid” section for two reasons.
(1) – One of the doctors is quoted as saying:
“You can’t predict by looking at someone if they are sexually active
Dr Stacy Tessler Lindau, study author”
Dr Lindau is wrong. It is possible to tell if a person is engaged in excessive sexual activity by a simple visual inspection of their body.
(2) – The story supports the claim by Happeh Theory that the advice of doctors is so hazardous they present a danger to society. A nurse is quoted in the story as saying:
“Some people are scared of having sex after a heart attack in case the exertion causes another one. But this is extremely unlikely,” said Cathy Ross, a cardiac nurse at the charity.”
That reassuring advice is going to kill people because sex acts directly on the heart.
The original news story is reprinted next.
Heart attack survivors are highly likely to avoid sex, fearing it could kill them, US researchers say.
The team told an American Heart Association meeting that those whose doctors failed to talk to them about sex were most likely to avoid it.
Dr Stacy Tessler Lindau, who led the study of 1,700 people, said the chance of dying during sex was “really small”.
The British Heart Foundation backed her call for doctors to discuss sex with their patients to allay their fears.
Experts say it is safe for heart attack survivors to start having sex again once they are capable of moderate exercise, such as climbing a few flights of stairs.
The study of 1,184 men and 576 women who had experienced heart attacks were asked about their sexual activity prior to and after having a heart attack.
They were assessed one month after their heart attacks, and then again after a year.
You can’t predict by looking at someone if they are sexually active
Dr Stacy Tessler Lindau, study author
The men, who had an average age of 59, were more likely to be married than the women, who had an average age was 61.
The men were also more likely to be sexually active prior to the heart attack.
But even after adjusting for these differences, patients who had been given instructions about resuming sexual activity when they were discharged from hospital were more likely to have sex in the following year.
Less than half of the men and about a third of the women had talked about their sex lives with their doctors.
And less than 40% of men and 20% of women talked to their doctors about sex in the 12 months after their heart attack.
One year on, more than two thirds of the men reported some sexual activity as did about 40% of women.
But men were 30% and women 40% more likely to report having less sex a year on, compared with before their heart attack, if they had not been given information on resuming sexual activity.
‘Healthy sex life’
Dr Lindau said: “Most heart attack patients are sexually active. But for the most part, physicians just aren’t discussing this topic with their patients after a heart attack.”
She said that even when sex was discussed, there was nothing to show what the patients were being told – and whether the information was consistent.
But Dr Lindau stressed: “The likelihood of dying during sexual intercourse, even among people who have had a heart attack, is really small.”
She said sex should not be dismissed as an issue simply because a patient was older or married.
“You can’t predict by looking at someone if they are sexually active. Patients regard sex as an important part of their life, and they think it’s appropriate for doctors to raise it as an issue.”
Cathy Ross, a cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said patients should be given information about resuming their sex lives when they were discharged.
“Some people are scared of having sex after a heart attack in case the exertion causes another one. But this is extremely unlikely.
“You can still enjoy a happy and healthy sex life, even if you have a heart condition.
“As with any other type of exercise, sexual activity can bring on symptoms if you’ve a heart condition so keep medication like your GTN spray or tablets nearby.
“Caressing and being intimate is a good way to start resuming sexual relationships and increase your confidence.”
Heart attack sufferers ‘should be encouraged to have more sex’
Heart attack sufferers should be encouraged to return to a normal sex life because the risk of having another seizure was “really small”, a conference has heard.
Many sufferers’ fear that lovemaking will get them over excited and put them back in hospital, or even kill them, was misguided, experts said.
The American Heart Association’s conference, in Washington DC, was told that it was safe to resume sex as soon as the patient feels better and can handle moderate exercise.
Doctors, the conference heard, should encourage heart attack patients that sex after an attack was minimal.
A study presented at the conference found men and women were 1.3 to 1.4 times more likely to cut down on sex after a heart attack.
But the study, of more than 1,600 patients, found less than half of men and a third of women were actually were given advice from their doctor about how to resume safe sexual activity.
Prof Stacy Tessler Lindau, who led the study, said fewer than 40 per cent of men and less than one in five women spoke about sex with their physicians in the year following their heart attack.
Prof Lindau, a gynaecologist and sexuality researcher at the University of Chicago, told the conference that patients’ concerns that lovemaking was dangerous were misguided and urged doctors to help them return to a normal sex life.
“People perceive it might kill them. And it’s not just the person with the heart attack, but also their partner,” she told the conference.
“If you can walk up two flights of stairs or do moderate exercise, then it’s OK to have sex. The likelihood of dying during sexual intercourse, even among people who have had a heart attack, is really small.
“Sexuality is an important part of life throughout life, and most heart attack patients are sexually active.”
She added: “For the most part, physicians just aren’t discussing this topic with their patients after a heart attack.”
In the study, the largest ever undertaken found that male participants, whose average age was 59, were more likely to be married than the women, whose average age was 61. They were also found to be more likely sexually active prior to their heart attack.
Patients who were given doctors’ advice about resuming sexual activity at hospital discharge were more were 30 per cent to 40 per cent more likely to engage in such activity over the following year, it found.
Prof Lindau said doctors needed to raise the subject, even if it’s not part of a routine discharge checklist because “not raising the question of sexuality leaves the door closed”.
Depression and mood swings are common after a heart attack and can dampen interest in sex, but this usually goes away within three months, the conference heard.
Out of 90,000 deaths caused by heart disease in Britain each year, about 40,000 occur in women, according to the British Heart Foundation. It said the research highlighted the need for doctors to reassure patients sex is safe even after heart problems.
“Some people are scared of having sex after a heart attack in case the exertion causes another one. But this is extremely unlikely,” said Cathy Ross, a cardiac nurse at the charity.
“You can still enjoy a happy and healthy sex life, even if you have a heart condition.”