Sexual activity in older men may pose cardiovascular risk in some than others

Emobileclinic Researchers Corner 


The general assumption is that the male enjoy sex till death, this implies that there is no break in the sexual life of the male who unlike the female who has a definite active sexual life which normally ends with menopause.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, researchers submit that sexually active older men are susceptible to developing heart attack, heart failure or stroke compared with those with inactive sexual engagements. In contrast, the study revealed that an active sex life appears to have no effect on older women’s heart health.

According to the study leader, Hui Liu, a Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University, “the result for men is indeed surprising for us, given our general assumption that sex is always good for health.” She offered several explanations on the possible cause of this occurrence which include the inability to reach organism in older men as a result of emotional or medical reasons which often lead to more overexertion, exhaustion and cardiovascular stress, use of medication and supplements to improve sexual function which comes with untoward side effects, as well as the anxiety or depression that follows sexual addition often result in negative effect on the heart.

The researchers analyzed survey responses from over 2,200 seniors who participated in the U.S. National Social Life, Health and Aging Project where participants answered sexual behavior questionnaires in 2005-2006 and five years later. All were 57 to 85 years old at the time of the first survey.

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The study discovered that older men were more likely than older women to affirm they were sexually active. In the two surveys, about 70 percent and 50 percent of men, respectively, said they had had sex in the past year, compared with roughly 40 percent and 23 percent of women. Men were also more likely to affirm they had more frequent sex. In the two polls, between 20 percent and 25 percent of men said they had sex once a week or more in the prior year, compared with 11 percent of women. Finally, men were more likely than women to say their sex was “extremely physically pleasurable” — 36 percent versus 23 percent in the first survey. And 37 percent of men said their sex was “extremely emotionally satisfying,” compared to 25 percent of women.

The responses from the survey were compared to key cardiovascular measures such as blood pressure readings, rapid heart rate, elevated C-reactive protein levels, and incidence of heart attack, heart failure and/or stroke.

When compared with older men who said they were not sexually active, those who engaged in once a week or more were almost twice as likely to experience a heart attack, heart failure or stroke by the second survey while men who found sex enjoyable also faced a higher risk for such heart illnesses.

However, Dr. Gregg Fonarow, professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said further studies need to validate these findings, “most studies suggest that maintaining an active sexual life seems to be associated with men’s cardiovascular and overall health”.

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Previous studies according to Fonarow “have suggested that high frequency of sexual intercourse is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular events and great longevity for men” and that “studies have shown that a reduced frequency of sexual activity was an independent risk factor for cardiovascular events in men,” as well as that “in addition, studies have documented the risk of cardiovascular events during sexual activity to be very low in absolute terms.”

In view of the above, Fonarow opined that “the findings of the present study require replication before further consideration.” However, he advised “seniors with or at risk for heart disease should not be shy about talking to their physician about their sex life, implications for heart health, and any concerns”.





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