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Warning couch potatos: Sex can kill you

By CARLA K. JOHNSON
March 23, 2011

Sex and exercise can trigger heart attacks in older people who don’t get much of either, a new analysis finds. The risk is low, but it’s a good reminder that slackers should change their exercise habits gradually, especially in middle age.

People who exercise regularly have a much smaller risk of having a heart attack immediately after sexual or physical activity, said lead author Dr. Issa Dahabreh of Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

“It would be really bad if someone thought our paper means people should not exercise,” Dahabreh said. “If anything, it’s the opposite.”

The analysis, appearing in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association, combined results from 14 studies involving more than 6,000 patients.

The studies involved only people who’d had heart attacks or had died suddenly from a heart problem. The studies looked at what the people were doing during the hour or two before their heart attacks and compared that to the same people’s activity on normal days with no major heart problems.

That study design is used to try to answer the question, “Why did the heart attack occur now?”

Physical activity and sex increased the risk of heart attack by a factor of about three, according to the analysis of the pooled results. Exercise increased the risk of sudden cardiac death by nearly five times. The researchers didn’t find a triggering relationship between sex and sudden cardiac death, that is, a sudden death from a heart problem.

The risk for any one person is extremely low.

“If you were to follow 10,000 people for a year and if they all decided to increase their physical activity by an hour a week, you could expect to see two to three more heart attacks,” Dahabreh said.

That risk is offset for most people by the benefits of exercise. The more frequently people exercise, in general, the less risk they have of exercise or sex triggering a heart attack.

Most of the patients in the studies were in their late 50s and early 60s, but the findings are a cautionary tale for people in any age group who are slowing down.

Exercise might even be considered cross-training for sex, said Mercedes Carnethon, a heart disease researcher at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, who wasn’t involved in the research.

“Engaging in regular physical activity is a requirement for maintaining a long, safe, healthy sex life,” Carnethon said.

“If this isn’t more motivation for people to maintain some degree of physical activity, I’m not sure what is,” Carnethon said. “Get out and walk. Do something.”

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Online:

JAMA: http://jama.ama-assn.org

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press

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2 Responses to Warning couch potatos: Sex can kill you

  1. Jon

    March 25, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    “At least he died doing what he loved.”

    J.

  2. Carl Nemo

    March 25, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Under Obamacare they’ll probably have a special team or section of the law to distribute literature and screen those 50 and older if they should be ‘cleared’ for a healthy senior sexual lifestyle. Cost within the trillion dollar O-care plan to administer…probably several billion per annum like everything ‘federal’.

    So some old fart/s manage to get it on one last time and they honk off. Who should care except a small circle of family and friends. The decedents if a mutual death/orgasm should occur have simultaneously had their best last ‘ride’ in the amusement park of life…no? : )

    The alternative is to live longer, then end up in a hospital with tubes in your nose and mouth, a half dozen monitors measuring your vitals while nuisance nurses and aids wake you up every half hour to take blood etc.; you’re terminal, but ‘proper’, then you die. / : | If I have a choice I’d prefer the former myself with a loud hee yaahhhh! kinda like Slim Picken’s rebel yell riding the H-bomb out from the bay doors of the B52 in the movie “Dr. Strangelove” ! : ))

    Carl Nemo **==

    p.s. As an afterthought, It dawned on me that watching “Dr. Strangelove” would be appropriate for our times with all the lunacy occurring in high places 24/7/365 moving us ever closer to strategic nuclear war. : |