Episodic Physical or Sexual Activity Linked to MI

Sudden cardiac death and MI risk attenuated in individuals with increased habitual activity

TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Episodic physical and sexual activity is associated with an increased risk of acute cardiac events, especially myocardial infarction (MI), although the risk is attenuated by increased habitual activity, according to a meta-analysis published in the March 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Issa J. Dahabreh, M.D., from Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and Jessica K. Paulus, Sc.D., from Tufts University in Medford, Mass., analyzed data from 14 case-crossover studies to assess the association between episodic physical or sexual activity and MI or sudden cardiac death (SCD). The relative risks (RRs) and absolute event rates for the incidence of MI and SCD were calculated.

The investigators found that episodic physical and sexual activity were correlated with an elevated risk of MI (RR, 3.45 and 2.70, respectively). Episodic physical activity was linked with increased risk of SCD (RR, 4.98). An additional hour of physical or sexual activity per week increased the absolute risk per 10,000 person-years by two to three for MI and one for SCD. These associations were significantly affected by habitual activity. The RR increased with lower habitual activity, and it decreased by approximately 45 percent for MI and by 30 percent for SCD for every additional time per week an individual was habitually exposed to physical activity.

"Our findings should not be misinterpreted as indicating a net harm of physical or sexual activity; instead they demonstrate that these exposures are associated with a temporary short-term increase in the risk of acute cardiac events," the authors write.

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