Sex after a heart attack: Many women survivors want to know more, study finds


(CBS News) When is it safe to have sex after a heart attack? It's a concern for many people, and as a a new study published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association shows, many female survivors worry about when it's safe to resume normal sexual activit, and they wish their doctors would talk to them about the issue more.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer among both men and women, according to the American Heart Association. Every year, 305,000 women have heart attacks.

The fear of dying of a heart attack from sex, according to Dr. Lori Mosca, director of Preventive Cardiology at New York Presbyterian Hospital, is "unfounded." The risk is less than one percent, Mosca said.

"We need to get the message out there that it's not only safe to have sex after a heart attack, the American Heart Association says after an uncomplicated heart attack, you can really resume normal sexual physical activity about a week later," she explained on "CBS This Morning."

The amount of exertion of a typical sexual activity is the equivalent of climbing two flights of stairs or a very brisk walk, she added. "So we're not talking about ... running a marathon here. Typically, this is a very safe thing to do and important thing to do for recovery.

She continued, "Depression is linked to recurrent heart disease and we need to pay more attention to the quality of life and really the psychosocial status of our patients, and if we don't bring it up, the patients should.

For more on this study and heart health and sex, watch the video above.