Breaking the silence on cardiovascular disease and sexual health

March 9, 2016

Cardiovascular disease is more than a heart problem, with up to 87 per cent of the 3.72 million people living with the disease also experiencing sexual dysfunction.

A new Deakin University study is looking to break the silence on this often unspoken side-effect of with the aim of opening up the conversation between patients and providers.

"Sexual health is often seen as a taboo topic by healthcare professionals and patients alike, so many people are suffering in silence," said Dr Leah East, a senior lecturer with Deakin's School of Nursing and Midwifery.

"To help break the silence on sexual health, I am conducting a study to develop a sexual health and wellbeing tool aimed at opening up the conversation between patient and healthcare professional."

Cardiovascular disease includes conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels, such as heart attack, angina, high blood fats and . The medicines used to treat the disease can often cause sexual problems. If left untreated, this can result in depression and anxiety, poor self-esteem and affect personal relationships.

"Being treated for cardiovascular disease should not come at the expense of an active and fulfilling sex life," Dr East said.

"Research tell us that patients want and welcome information and care associated with their sexual health and wellbeing, however these needs are often not met.

"Providing health professionals with a screening tool would enable routine screening to identify possible problems and assist in providing appropriate sexual health care."

People aged over 18 years who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease are invited to be part of the study that will involve interviews about their expectations and information needs when it comes to sexual health. Health care professionals are also called on to provide their views on sexual health and the essential elements in providing care to patients.

Explore further: Sexual dysfunction often accompanies cardiovascular disease

Related Stories

Sexual dysfunction often accompanies cardiovascular disease

September 24, 2015
A Deakin University researcher is looking to lift the taboo on the sexual problems that are often an unspoken side-effect for the 3.72 million Australians living with cardiovascular disease.

Sexual health communication between Asian-American adolescents and health-care providers

February 29, 2016
Health care providers play an important role in providing accurate information to adolescents about sexual health issues, including prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). There has been limited ...

Sex does not increase heart attack risk

September 21, 2015
Sex is rarely the cause of a heart attack, and most heart disease patients are safe to resume sexual activity after a heart attack, according to a research letter published today in the Journal of the American College of ...

Sexual dysfunction is prevalent among recently deployed veterans

November 4, 2015
In a recent study of 247 US veterans returning from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, almost 18% screened positive for sexual functioning difficulties. Self-reported sexual dysfunction was most strongly linked with depression, ...

Most patients don't get counseling about sex after heart attack

December 15, 2014
Most patients don't receive counseling about resuming sexual activity after having a heart attack, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Sexual activity is safe for most heart, stroke patients

January 19, 2012
If you have stable cardiovascular disease, it is more than likely that you can safely engage in sexual activity, according to an American Heart Association scientific statement.

Recommended for you

When traveling on public transport, you may want to cover your ears

November 22, 2017
The noise levels commuters are exposed to while using public transport or while biking, could induce hearing loss if experienced repeatedly and over long periods of time, according to a study published in the open access ...

Different types of alcohol elicit different emotional responses

November 22, 2017
Different types of alcohol elicit different emotional responses, but spirits are most frequently associated with feelings of aggression, suggests research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Air pollution linked to poorer quality sperm

November 22, 2017
Air pollution, particularly levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), is associated with poorer quality sperm, suggests research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Sunrise and sunset guide daily activities of city-dwellers

November 21, 2017
Despite artificial lightning and social conventions, the dynamics of daylight still influence the daily activities of people living in modern, urban environments, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

Older men need more protein to maintain muscles

November 21, 2017
The amount of protein recommended by international guidelines is not sufficient to maintain muscle size and strength in older men, according to a new study.

Exercising and eating well are greater contributors to health than standing at work

November 21, 2017
By now you've probably heard the edict from the health community: Sitting is the new smoking. Perhaps you've converted to a standing desk, or maybe you have a reminder on your phone to get up once an hour and walk around ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.