How Sex Helps Your HeartNow that I have your attention, let me tell you that it is true that sex helps your heart. So my advice during Heart Health Month here in February is to have sex!
Seriously, having an active sex life can cut a man's risk of dying from heart disease in half (so forget all these movies you've seen where he dies in bed having sex.) Further, a British study shows that for a man, having an orgasm several times a week offers potent protection against heart attack and stroke.
The results are not so clear for a woman, but a healthy sex life seems to equate to being happier and better health overall for a woman, so that's good enough for me!
If you are having problems having sex, that could also be a warning sign. Some researchers believe that erectile dysfunction can be an early (as early as 5 years) predictor of future heart problems.
Following are some more surprising facts that you might not know about your heart and things that can do to help keep your heart healthy.
Drinking coffee seems to reduce heart attack risk as well. Even though drinking coffee briefly makes your heart beat faster, Kaiser Permanente in Oakland has found that in actuality, coffee-drinkers are less likely to be hospitalized or worry about heart rhythm oddities. People who drink 4 cups or more of coffee a day have an 18% less incidence of hospitalization, and people who drink 1 to 3 cups a day have 7% less.
A sneeze does not stop your heart. This is just plain old urban legend. As a matter of fact, your heart starts beating 22 days after conception, and doesn't stop, ever, until death. The Texas Heart Institute says that this means a heart can beat up to 3.5 billion times in a lifetime. Pretty incredible! A woman's heart does beat slightly faster than a man's, at about 78 beats per minute versus 70 for a man.
Laughter is great for your heart, so go ahead and watch that funny movie. Laughter is one of the best things you can do for your heart (and your health in general), and this is a proven fact. A hearty laugh can send up to 20% more blood through your veins. When you laugh the walls of your blood vessels expand and relax, reducing stress throughout your entire body. So, love, laugh, and live is true, it seems.
There is such a thing as heartbreak. As good as laughter is for your heart, conversely, deep sadness and sorrow is not a good thing for your heart health. For some people, the shock and stress of deep grief and bereavement can cause a heart attack. Heart attacks are more likely to happen after the death of a family member or close friend, unfortunately. So the best advice is to take care of your heart so it is in as good a shape as possible at all times.
Get Up and Move. You already know this one. Too much sitting or even driving is a huge hazard to your heart and your health. So, you know those salsa lessons your honey wants you to take? Go do it! Or take a walk or a bike ride together. Not only will it get you moving and away from the TV, but it might help with the first piece of advice at the top of the page as well. Inactivity leads to a 27% higher risk of heart attack according to a study done on an analysis of data from nearly 30,000 people in 52 countries.
So, take care of your heart, and your health. And come in and see us for a preventative scan.