There are always numerous news stories around about people passing away while having sex, with such occurrences often leading us to focus on the risks of acute heart failure due to high blood pressure. However, a report into the subject by the American Journal of Cardiology found that the exertions placed on the heart during intercourse accounted for less than 1% of all heart attacks. Moreover, the American Heart Association confirmed that people suffering from heart disease are not particularly at risk during sex, including those with high blood pressure.
Nevertheless, people suffering from severe high blood pressure, or those who are unable to manage their blood pressure despite receiving medication, are advised to cease any sexual or strenuous activities due to the potentially life-threatening consequences that could occur.
The World Health Organization states that a blood pressure reading of more than 140/90 mm/Hg is considered high, while a measurement of over 180/110 mm/Hg is categorized as dangerously severe. If not properly treated, it can lead to numerous other serious health conditions as well as have a severe impact upon both men’s and women’s sexual performance.
Men with high blood pressure who do not receive adequate treatment are at risk of blood vessel damage, which can lead to their arteries becoming hardened and narrow. This then results in decreased circulatory function, including with regard to the circulation necessary to maintain an erection, meaning that their sexual performance is affected. Furthermore, high blood pressure can also interfere with ejaculation and reduce sexual desire. All of this could lead them to avoid sexual intercourse and affect the levels of intimacy they share with their partner.
With regard to women with high blood pressure, it has been found that their orgasms are affected, while there is also an increase in the pain they feel during intercourse due to the circulation in their vagina being significantly impacted, leading to vaginal dryness.
Although blood pressure medication can significantly improve overall heart health, some such drugs may also impact upon the sex life of the sufferer. Studies carried out by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, found that diuretics and some forms of blood pressure medication could result in issues associated with sexual performance, especially for men who are already taking sexual performance enhancement drugs. Hence, patients should inform their doctor of any regular medication they take and seek medical attention should sexual performance issues arise subsequent to blood pressure drugs being taken.
Nonetheless, some forms of blood pressure medication are capable of significantly improving male sexual performance, ensuring they can maintain a stable erection for longer and allowing them to have sex more frequently than before.
It is therefore essential that whichever medication you are taking, you should be sure to take them as recommended and inform your physician of all or any side effects. Such stringency is the most effective way to reduce any impact upon your sex life and any other associated health issues.
For people whose blood pressure is higher than normal, but they are able to regulate it, they can still engage in sexual intercourse as usual. However, they should be careful not to exert too much energy or place too much stress on the body since sex can result in elevated blood pressure that could place them in danger. This is particularly important for those with severe high blood pressure, or those with chronic health disorders, such as coronary artery disease. Such people should be careful to not engage in sexual activity more than 2-3 times a week. Any sex for people in these groups should involve standard positions, such as the missionary position or sitting facing each other. Overly ambitious positions that require strenuous exertions should be avoided, in order to reduce the chances of an acute heart attack occurring.
It is not only sexual activity that places us at risk of a heart attack. Some people suffer a heart attack while driving, watching an exciting movie or even while taking a bath, so it is important not to let the thought of a heart attack disturb your most intimate moments. One of the most effective solutions to treat a deterioration in sexual performance and to prevent heart failure during intercourse is to consult with your doctor regarding any blood pressure medication you may be taking. Adhere strictly to your doctor’s advice. This will not only enable you to engage in sex without fear and inhibition. It can also provide a boost to you and your partner’s physical satisfaction and emotional wellbeing.
The Second Class Honours M.D., Faculty of Medicine, Srinakharinwirot University, 1993.