By Margarita Nahapetyan
Men who are unfaithful to their wives do not just jeopardize their marriage, but are also at an increased risk of having a deadly heart attack, Italian scientists who were studying male monogamy have found. It was revealed that 'sudden coital death' is much common when a man was meeting with his mistress outside of his home than when he was with his wife. And liaisons with younger lovers are particularly dangerous.
The experts from the University of Florence, who previously carried out several studies on the causes of infidelity and its effects, analyzed the medical literature that was related to infidelity or extramarital affairs, but it was not that easy to find admitted reliable statistics in this area as men were not willing to discuss their affairs with scientists. According to the researchers, about 4 per cent of married men have an affair every year and the amount of men who are unfaithful to their long-term partner at some point in their lives varies anywhere from 15 to 50 per cent. It was found that parenthood, conflicts and arguments in the family and a problematic primary relationship were all associated with a higher risk of having an affair on a side.
The authors thoroughly analyzed a variety of physical and mental health factors and their rates of occurrence in both faithful husbands and admitted adulterers. The results revealed that heart attacks, including deadly ones, were relatively rare when a man was having sexual intercourse with his wife at home. However, when he was involved in an intimate relationship with a mistress, the dangers and risks grew.
It is still not clear what reasons are behind the increase in heart attack death, but scientists assume that it could be a combination of several factors, such as stress from keeping an affair discreet and the stress of satisfying a lover who is likely to be younger than a cheater's wife. Dr. Alessandra Fisher, who worked on the study, said that extramarital affair could be more stressful for a man because the sexual intercourse with a younger lover is more likely to follow more excessive drinking and/or eating. It is also possible that a secret romantic date in an unfamiliar place may significantly increase a man's blood pressure and heart rate, leading to increased oxygen demand, Dr. Fisher added further. Another factor contributing to the problem could be guilty conscience, with some studies suggesting that heart issues are more common among unfaithful husbands who are still attracted to their wives.
Previous studies by German scientists have demonstrated that most men who died during intimate intercourse were having an affair and meeting with a lover away from the family home. The major reason behind the deaths was furred-up arteries, which blamed for more than 30 per cent of the fatal heart attacks, the experts explained. The physical need of having an intercourse causes the rupture of the fatty plaque that is built up inside arteries.
Only few studies have analyzed the connection between adultery and a risk of having a heart attack, finding that having an extramarital affair could negatively affect cardiac morbidity and mortality, researchers wrote. Definitions of cheating and its consequences are different among different cultures, religions, and legal jurisdictions. However, being unfaithful to your partner in most societies is associated with a stigma. Therefore, conducting a research regarding such a sensitive topic is extremely complex, and its prevalence is often underestimated, the authors concluded.