Sex can have numerous beneficial physical and mental effects that include lowering blood pressure, boosting the immune system and helping to get better sleep.
The physical act of sexual sex and orgasm triggers the hormone oxytocin. This is the so-called love hormone that is essential in establishing relationships and trust between individuals.
However, there’s a downside that is that people die in or immediately after sexual contact. It’s quite low and is responsible for 0.6 per cent of sudden death.
There are many causes for why it happens to individuals. Most of the time it’s due to the physical strain caused by sexual activity, prescribed drugs (drugs to treat Erectile dysfunction, for instance) or illegal substances such as cocaine or both.
The chance of a sudden cardiac death increases when people get older. A postmortem study of forensic significance from Germany of 32,000 deaths that occurred suddenly over a period of 33 years discovered the following: 0.2 percent of the cases occurred as a result of sexual activities.
The majority of sudden deaths occurred for males (average age of 59 years) and the most frequently reported reason was a heart attack sometimes referred to as myocardial infarction. Studies of sudden cardiac deaths and sexual activity in across the US, France and South Korea reveal similar results.
Not only the middle-aged males.
Recently however, researchers at St George’s, University of London found that this condition isn’t exclusive to middle-aged men.
The study, presented in JAMA Cardiology, looked at sudden cardiac deaths in 6,847 cases that were referred to the centre for cardiology in St George’s between January 1994 until August 2020.
Of those 17, (0.2 percent) were reported to have occurred during or within an hour of sexual activities. The median (mean) age at death was 38 yearsold, with 35 percent of cases were female this is more than previous studies.
The deaths were not due to heart attacks as is the case with older people. In the majority of deaths (53 percent) the heart was found be structurally normal. A sudden heart rhythm that was abnormal, referred to as sudden arrhythmic deaths syndrome or SADS was the main cause of the death.
Aortic dissection was second leading source of the problem (12 percentage). The layers of the walls of the main coronary artery that circulates blood to the body are ripped and blood moves between the layers, which causes it to expand and rupture.
The other instances were due to the structure of the body, such as cardiomyopathy (a condition that affects the muscle of your heart that causes it to be more difficult to allow the heart supply blood to the rest in your body) or from the rare channelsopathies that are genetically inherited.
This is why the ion channels which allow potassium and sodium in and out of cells of the heart muscle aren’t functioning properly. The alteration in potassium and sodium within the cells could alter the electrical flow through the heart muscle, and alter how it beats.
A faulty heart rhythm could cause a decrease in oxygen (myocardial Ischemia) and could cause an abrupt cardiac arrest in which the heart ceases beating.
The new study suggests the possibility that sudden death from cardiac causes among those who are younger than 50 is mostly caused by sudden arrhythmic death syndrome , also known as cardiomyopathies.
Younger adults diagnosed with these diseases should consult with their cardiologist regarding the risk of sexually active activities.
However, the low rate of death reported in these studies indicates that the risk of death is low even in those with heart diseases.