One suffers a heart attack when blood flow to a section of heart muscles becomes blocked. The muscles are not getting oxygen and other nutrients. If the flow of blood is not restored quickly this section of heart muscle becomes damaged and begins to die. Heart attack is a leading killer in all Western countries and it is rapidly increasing in emerging countries also. But, today very good treatment is available to lead a good life. If the symptoms of heart attack are noticed the treatment must be started within one hour and this the most effective treatment. Even if there is a small doubt it is better to rush to your doctor or to a hospital. This has saved the life of many persons.

If you have a blocked artery or arteries you need a coronary artery bypass surgery which is also known as coronary artery heart bypass graft surgery. Veins or arteries from any part your body are grafted to the heart arteries to bypass the block or blocks to ensure the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle. There are different techniques are available and your surgeon will select the right one for his patient.

A cardiac rehabilitation after bypass surgery gives the patients all the information necessary to change their food and lifestyle habits to reduce disability. It is the best way to prolong a good life further. In Germany, all persons who undergo a bypass surgery are sent for a cardiac rehabilitation immediately for three to four weeks. The physical activity is started next day. In USA only about 20% of the patients go for a cardiac rehabilitation. In India only a few have the chance for this important rehabilitation.

Regular exercises and an active sex life are essential not only for optimizing your quality of life but also to maintain cardiovascular health. Sexual intercourse is considered roughly equivalent to mild to moderate exercise or walking up a couple flights of stairs or walking 800 meters. If you cannot perform these activities without becoming tired or short of breath you must allow more time for your sexual activity. The general guidelines the most doctors give you include:

• Heart attack – should avoid sexual activity for two to six weeks
• Stent implant – should avoid sexual activity for one to two weeks
• Cardiac device implant – have to avoid sexual activity for a week
• Bypass surgery – the patient should wait till the chest incision to heal and this may take six to eight weeks
• Heart valve surgery – same as for bypass surgery.

Many feel nervous about resuming sexual activity after bypass surgery. Their partners are also mostly afraid. In the beginning use positions which limit pressure or weight on the breast bone. It is applicable to arms and chest also.

The important points to consider include:

• Talk openly with your partner
• Allow a gradual return of sexual activity as there is no superman or superwoman. Performance expectations must be realistic
• Rest and physical comforts are important before sex
• Sex has both physical and emotional aspects and so be caring, honest and loving to each other

50 to 75% persons after bypass surgery have sexual problems. Anxiety from either partner or the side effects of some medicines may/can interfere with sexual arousal or performance. The medicines which interfere with sexual libido include beta blockers, diuretics and many others. These difficulties must be discussed with your doctor to find a solution.

Depression, fears about triggering another heart or thoughts of dying are the common factors for many to make their lives difficult after a heart attack and bypass surgery. If there is continuous chest pain during intercourse, rapid heartbeat or difficulty in breathing which continues for 5 to 10 minutes to orgasm, feeling of extreme tiredness after orgasm and other difficulties you must report to your cardiologist immediately.

It is important to take the prescription medicines before you have sex. Every individual is different and in practice it is very interesting to observe that each react in a different way. Persons who have talked with their doctors after the bypass surgery about sex have less sexual activities compared to persons who have not talked about this with their doctors. It may be because they see the positive aspects of sex without unnecessary fears and have sex when they feel comfortable to do that.

Have lot of fun. It is your life and enjoy it…