As cardiac patients get younger, sex questions loom large
The age of a cardiac patient in the country is consistently coming down. While this may be a dangerous trend in itself, it has also raised several other questions some of which the patients are not very comfortable discussing with their doctors. One such issue is the sexual health and activity.
The regional branch of Cardiological Society of India on Sunday organised a symposium on ‘Cardiac diseases and sex’. Speakers included cardiologist Dr Aziz Khan, psychiatrist Dr Sudhir Bhave, Mumbai-based consultant and sexual health physician Dr Deepak Jumani and sexologist Dr Sanjay Deshpande.
“Due to shortage of time and dilemma in patients’ mind, important issues of normal life like sexual activity take a back seat while discussing one’s health with a cardiologist,” stated CSI president Dr Nirmal Jaiswal. CSI secretary Dr Girish Deshpande said this made the patient suffer in silence due to various fears and prejudices surrounding the issue.
Explaining the normal physiological changes in blood pressure and heart rate during sexual act, Dr Khan likened it to light house work like ironing or polishing. “The probability of cardiac trouble caused by sexual activity in a normal person is 1%, while for a cardiac patient it is 1.1 %. However, for a heart patient, some medicines can interfere with sexual life. This must be discussed with doctor,” he said. The period after which one can resume normal sexual life post-bypass is two to three weeks and post angioplasty two to three days.
Considering people’s reluctance to discuss sex, doctors could themselves reassure them about resuming normal sexual functions after a cardiac procedure, Dr Bhave said. “Many cardiac patients have problems like anxiety disorder and depression that may be affecting their sex life. These need to be dealt with through counselling,” he said.
Dr Jumani said factors like thyroid dysfunction and diabetes could also affect sex life. “Monogamous sex is safest. Most coital deaths occur with an unfamiliar partner, in unfamiliar setting,” he said. Quoting from several studies, Dr Jumani said regular sexual activity and being in good sexual health reduces the chances of cardiac trouble manifold.
“Performance enhancing medicines have to be taken under proper guidance by those who really need them. Using them just for fun can actually land one in cardiac trouble,” said Dr Deshpande. He added the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in the state had banned the sale of such drugs without prescription.