Death during sex: Not just a danger for older men

Let’s face it, sex isn’t just enjoyable, it can come with numerous benefits to your health and your life.

In fact, while most of us think of the sex benefits men enjoy, like increased testosterone and maintenance of prostate health and penile length, women can grab big benefits too, such as:

And studies have shown that for both men and women, sex in the senior years can lead to a happier, more fulfilled life.

But it’s not all rosy when it comes to what happens between the sheets.

That’s because while the incidence is low, sometimes people die during or shortly after sex.

Sudden cardiac death can and does happen during sex, no matter how enjoyable the time was.

In some cases, the culprit is the physical strain put on the body during sexual activity. For others, it’s due to prescription drugs, like those used to treat erectile dysfunction.

Of course, for most of us, the issue doesn’t even cross our minds until we start to get a little older. And for us women, we usually only worry about our male partners.

But the truth is, the risk might be far more widespread than we ever realized and isn’t only limited to men.

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Affecting younger people and women too

You see, past studies had found that the main risk level occurred in men — specifically, men nearing their 60s.

For example, a study out of Germany that looked back over a 33-year timeframe found sudden cardiac death occurred mainly in men, with an average age of 59. And research in the U.S., France and South Korea backed that up.

But hang onto your hats because more recent results from a study by a team from St George’s, University of London says something far different.

After investigating 6,847 cases of sudden cardiac death from 1994 to 2020, they found that 0.2 percent of them occurred either during or within one hour of sex to victims with an average age of just 38 years old.

More surprising — 35 percent of those cases were women.

The causes

So what was behind the deaths?

Well, according to the researchers, while sudden cardiac death during sex in older men is usually caused by a heart attack, that wasn’t the case in this study where the average age upon death was much younger.

Their results showed that in just over half of those who died during or just after sex, the heart suffered a sudden abnormal heart rhythm called sudden arrhythmic death syndrome or Sads. This abnormal heart rhythm can lead to a lack of oxygen to the heart, known as myocardial ischemia, which can result in cardiac arrest.

Aortic dissection, which occurs when the layers in the wall of a large artery tear and burst, was the second-largest cause.

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Caring for your heart to keep sex on your to-do list

The good news is that as we said previously, the incidence of sudden cardiac death during sex is still low.

But as long as it’s not zero, it’s important to take steps to keep your heart and blood vessels as healthy as possible, so that you can enjoy a healthy, active sex life. A few places to start, include:

  • Don’t skip your yearly checkups.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet.
  • Increase your omega-3s.
  • Consume more garlic and olive oil with the foods you eat.
  • Talk to your doctor about taking your blood pressure in both arms, instead of just one. If blood pressure is significantly different in both arms, though uncommon, it could be an indication of an aortic dissection — the same deadly condition that took the life of popular actor John Ritter in 2003 at the age of 54.

Also, be sure to listen for the tell-tale warning signals that your heart is getting ready to experience a full-blown stoppage. They’re not as stealthy as you might think.

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Sources:

Death during sex isn’t just something that happens to middle-aged men, new study finds – The Conversation

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Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.