In response to our series of articles on sex and blood pressure, we recently received a question about whether it was safe to have sex if you have hypertension. The person was wondering if they would have a heart attack through over stimulation and over exertion.Well first let me say: Congratulations if you are able to have sex despite high blood pressure. Hypertension can make sex a real challenge for many people, so you are doing well!
Sex, High Blood Pressure and Heart Attacks
Some people have suffered heart attacks while having sex. People have also suffered heart attacks while driving to the grocery store, watching a football match, or taking a shower. A heart attack offer occurs with no obvious advance warning. It can occur anytime, anywhere, at work or play, while resting, or while in motion. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and life itself put you at risk.Thankfully, when it comes to sex, the risk is incredibly small. Sex does raise your BP, but about as much as taking a walk around the block or climbing up a flight of stairs. By the best estimates (American Journal of Cardiology), the extra exertion of sexual activity causes less than 1 percent of all heart attacks. Among people with heart disease, the odds of suffering a heart attack within two hours of sex are roughly one in 50,000. At that rate, you'd be better off worrying about lightning.
The one caveat: if you have uncontrolled hypertension (you should be tracking your BP daily iOS, Android so you would know this), you do need to be careful, especially if you take sexual enhancement drugs like Viagra or Cialis. Talk to your doctor just to be safe.
Don't let fears of a heart attack interfere with sex
Don't let fears of a heart attack in any way slow you down from having sex. If you have any concerns, consult with your doctor. But in most cases sex will be a great thing for your mental and physical well-being. In fact, as we will write in another article, sex along with other sensual activities can actually help you reduce blood pressure and benefit your heart.
Hello Heart does not provide medical advice. You should always consult with your doctor about your individual care.
1. Gazit T, Gutman M, Beatty AL. Assessment of Hypertension Control Among Adults Participating in a Mobile Technology Blood Pressure Self-management Program. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(10):e2127008, https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.27008. Accessed October 19, 2022. (Some study authors are employed by Hello Heart. Because of the observational nature of the study, causal conclusions cannot be made. See additional important study limitations in the publication. This study showed that 108 participants with baseline blood pressure over 140/90 who had been enrolled in the program for 3 years and had application activity during weeks 148-163 were able to reduce their blood pressure by 21 mmHg using the Hello Heart program.) (2) Livongo Health, Inc. Form S-1 Registration Statement. https:/www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1639225/000119312519185159/d731249ds1.htm. Published June 28, 2019. Accessed October 19, 2022. (In a pilot study that lasted six weeks, individuals starting with a blood pressure of greater than 140/90 mmHg, on average, had a 10 mmHG reduction.) NOTE: This comparison is not based on a head-to-head study, and the difference in results may be due in part to different study protocols.
2. Validation Institute. 2021 Validation Report (Valid Through October 2022). https://validationinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Hello_Heart-Savings-2021- Final.pdf. Published October 2021. Accessed October 19, 2022. (This analysis was commissioned by Hello Heart, which provided a summary report of self-fundedemployer client medical claims data for 203 Hello Heart users and 200 non-users from 2017-2020. Findings have not been subjected to peer review.)