Every year in Australia 54,000 people have a heart attack, the United States sees 750,000 annually. Globally, in 2010, the amount of people listed as having a stroke was 33 million, which is roughly the same population level as Canada. That's worrying statistics especially since they are in the top three causes of death in these countries and represent 1 in every 4 deaths. A heart attack is a response to the sudden and complete blocking of the artery that supplies blood to the heart. Like any muscle in your body, the heart needs a blood supply in order to keep it running smoothly and healthily. As we get older, the arteries supplying blood to the heart can become damaged and narrow as a result of the build-up of fatty materials, this is known as plaque. What can happen is that when an area of plaque breaks your blood cells can stick to the damaged area and form a clot - when this clot completely blocks the flow of blood to the heart, a heart attack occurs.
Heart attacks come with little warning, but they do come with warning signs though they're not always what you might think they are. Warning signs will vary from person to person and the only consistent thing between heart attacks is that the longer someone waits to seek help the more damage that will be done to the heart.The following list is a list of the warning signs that can occur before and during a heart attack. They may not always be sudden or severe, and you might experience one of them, a combination of them, or something in between.
The Jaw - You might feel discomfort or pain in your jaw. This might be through an ache or a feeling of tightness around the area of the lower jaw, or it might be on both sides of the jaw.
The Neck - You might experience a pain or discomfort in the neck. People who have had a heart attack usually describe either a general discomfort in the neck, or a choking/burning sensation in their throat.
The Shoulders - You might experience a pain and discomfort in one or even both of your shoulders. The feeling that is generally given is a general ache, pressure or heaviness which has spread from their chest to either one, or both of their shoulders.
The Chest - You might experience a discomfort or pain in the centre of your chest. This is the sensation most commonly attributed to the feeling of heart attacks. There might be a sensation of heaviness, tightness, pressure or even a crushing sensation that originates in the centre of the chest. It doesn't have to be an intense or strong pain, sharp and stabbing pain is generally less associated with a heart attack, but it might be mild and could make you feel unwell.
The Back - People will generally describe a dull ache that that can feel in between their shoulder blades. It originates from your chest and can spread to your back.
The Arms - People will sometimes experience a pain, uselessness, heaviness in either one of their arms, or both. They describe feelings of discomfort, numbness and tingling that has spread from their chest.
You might also feel nauseous, dizziness, cold sweat, and a shortness of breath while experiencing other symptoms.
After A Heart Attack:-
After a heart attack, you might be required to stay in hospital anywhere from two days, to a week. If there were any complications, or had to undergo any other treatments such as a bypass surgery, then you'll be in for longer. Immediately after a heart attack, your medication is going to change as will your routine and lifestyle.
A common question, though seldom asked, is concerns when you can return to sexual activity after a heart attack. Sex and sexual activity is a normal and healthy part of life, and it directly affects the quality of life as well. Recovery periods for everyone are going to be different, and it's important that you communicate to your doctor about sexual activity after a heart attack. If you feel that you are well enough then you begin to engage in sexual activity. You might find that you're ready when you can do a moderate physical activity such as a brisk walk, without triggering any angina symptoms.
The general rule of thumb is that you consider how much physical activity your body can handle and tolerate. For example, if you're able to climb a flight of stairs without pain, discomfort or shortness of breath then in most cases, unless specifically prohibited by your doctor, you'll be able to engage in sexual activity again. Some doctors might play it cautiously and request an exercise electrocardiogram to check your hearts status before allowing it. Of course, the resuming of sexual activity is dependent on the procedures that you have had, if you had an angioplasty then you can't engage in sexual activity until the incisions heal. If you've had a bypass surgery, then it’s also going to be a few weeks until your chest has healed.
Some people might find that they're worried about resuming sexual activity after suffering from a heart attack. They might be worried that they're not going to perform as well, they might be concerned about their energy levels, and they might also be worried that they'll experience chest pain and suffer from another heart attack. If you’re a little worried about these things, it might be good to ease into the situation by watching some erotic movies to begin with, or even to use toys as opposed to physical exertion. Contrary to popular belief, the risk of a heart attack during sex is exceptionally low. Sex is the direct cause of heart attacks in less than one out of every hundred. If you can do moderate activities without angina symptoms, then your risk is lower. It should be noted that the consumption of Amyl Nitrate/Poppers after a heart attack, does increase the risk slightly with significant increases when mixing poppers and Viagra. If you have suffered from a heart attack, it is recommended that you do not use Poppers.
It might be frustrating, but you’ll need to remember patience and to take it slowly. With this in mind you might also find it beneficial to resume sex gradually as opposed to jumping right into it. Take activities of intimacy as a way of easing into it that are easy on your heart. This might include, kissing, caressing and touching. You will need to be open with your partner and together decide on an appropriate time to start engaging in sexual activity again. When that happens, it will be helpful to keep the following things in mind.
- Honest and openness. Tell your partner about your concerns and your feelings. You never know, they might be having the same worries as you and the 'pressure' that you feel might be a projection of your own.
- Choose a time and a place where you are comfortable, relaxed and that there will not be any interruptions.
- Ensure that proper digestion has occurred. You will need to wait between 1-3 hours after the consumption of a full meal.
- Make sure that both you and your partner are aware that anxiety from either partner can interfere with sexual arousal responses, and sexual performance.
- If you have any angina symptoms, stop immediately and rest. Call your emergency health service if the symptoms do not go away with rest, or are not getting better within five minutes of taking Angina medication.
- If you have any symptoms during sexual activity, you need to inform your doctor on your next visit.
Having sex after a heart attack is possible, so long as caution is taken. There might be some frustration to begin with on both your parts. But it is important to take it slowly and cautiously to avoid relapses. Over time, as your strength rebuilds you will be able to engage in more and more of your favourite activities with as much fervour as you can deliver!