DEAR DR. ROACH: You recently discussed a study showing that you may be better off taking your high blood pressure medications at night to prevent heart attacks and strokes the following morning. I am a 55-year-old on high blood pressure medications, and my wife asked an interesting follow-up question: Are we better off having sex in the evening rather than in the morning if heart attacks and strokes are more likely to occur in the morning? — G.M.
ANSWER: Heart attacks and strokes are indeed more likely in the morning. This may be due to hormonal changes or increased clotting risk in the morning, but there are other factors. However, there does not seem to be an increase in risk from morning exercise versus exercise at any other time of the day.
While regular exercise reduces the risk of having a heart attack, extreme levels of exertion — especially in sedentary, high-risk men — can precipitate heart attack or stroke. However, moderate exercise, such as from sexual activity, does not increase risk of a heart attack.
Couples who engage in regular sexual activity have a slightly lower risk of overall mortality. You should engage in sexual activity whenever it’s best for you, without worrying about any consequences on your heart.
Both men and women with known heart disease should, of course, consult with their cardiologist about whether sexual activity is safe for them. It is generally a health concern only among people with significant blockages in the arteries or severe heart failure.
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Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to [email protected] or send mail to 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.