Can Sex Cause a Heart Attack?

Health's medical editor weighs in.

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Is it possible to get a heart attack from having sex?

It's very unlikely. And it appears as if sexual activity is no more prone to cause heart attacks than any other form of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking or climbing a couple of flights of stairs. Sex may even be safer because you're doing it for a shorter amount of time (or, hey, maybe not!).

That's if you're healthy, but what if you or your partner has heart disease? Good news: A recent research letter in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that only 0.7% of heart disease patients who'd suffered a heart attack reported having had sex within an hour before the attack, showing it's highly unlikely that sex is a trigger. In fact, the American Heart Association issued a new scientific statement in September saying that it's probably fine for folks with heart disease to have sex as long as their condition has stabilized. Still, if you do have heart disease, it's always smart to receive guidance from a doctor regarding any type of physical exertion, and that includes getting intimate.

Health's medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.

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