Yes, it’s true. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) from sex, where your heart stops beating, is quite possible.
And it’s not an old man problem, according to a recent study published by JAMA Cardiology. The study concluded that the risk for sudden cardiac death (SCD) from sex is rare. This is also true for people who have heart conditions.
Researchers examined SCD cases at a London hospital from 1994 to 2020. They discovered that out of those 6,847 cases, only .02% of them involved cases where people died during or within one hour after sex. What’s more, of those 17 sex-related SCD cases, two-thirds were men with an average age of 38.
The team that conducted the study maintained that sex is a safe activity, even for individuals under the age of 50 with cardiac conditions.
“We believe these findings provide some reassurance that engaging in sexual activity is relatively safe in patients with a cardiac condition, especially in younger (aged <50 years) individuals,” they wrote.
What Exactly Is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
A sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is not a heart attack. With the latter, the heart is blocked from receiving blood, but it doesn’t stop beating. The opposite is true with SCA, which halts blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. Unless someone with SCA is treated with a defibrillator, death can come within minutes, states MedlinePlus.
How Prevalent is It?
Death from a sudden cardiac arrest remains the largest cause of natural death in America. It also causes an estimated 325,000 adult deaths in the U.S. each year, and it is responsible for half of all heart disease deaths, according to the Cleveland Clinic. In fact, more people die from SCA each year than those who die from prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, AIDS, auto accidents, house fires, and firearms combined, states the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation.
What groups are most at risk?
SCA is more common in men than woman. Blacks or African Americans have a higher risk of SCA. This is especially if they have comorbid medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, according to MedlinePlus. People with a history of irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia), or those with family members who have SCA or arrhythmias are also in the higher risk category.