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Sexual activity and the cardiovascular patient: guidelines

Authors
Journal
The American Journal of Cardiology
0002-9149
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
84
Issue
5
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0002-9149(99)00116-2
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract Modern cardiac rehabilitation is a comprehensive program of secondary prevention for patients with heart disease. Moreover, it is an important context in which to broach issues of impaired sexual function. Sexual problems plague a large portion of our cardiac patient population. Unspoken concerns about impotence, now more correctly called erectile dysfunction (ED), are common, as are concerns about the safety of engaging in sexual activity, especially after major cardiac events or therapeutic interventions. A large proportion of patients do not return to normal sexual activity after a cardiac event. Many factors, including normal age-related changes in sexual response, medication-induced dysfunction, and vascular changes associated with risk factors (e.g., diabetes and dyslipidemia), as well as the emotional impact of symptomatic heart disease, may influence sexual function in these patients. These factors, occurring alone or in combination, probably explain the discouraging prevalence of sexual dysfunction in patients with manifest cardiac disease. Because so few patients have specific cardiac reasons for limiting sexual activity, a clear opportunity exists for cardiologists and their staff to help enhance the emotional well-being and overall quality of life of their cardiac patients.

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