There are very few medical conditions in which having sex can lead to y0ur demise. If you’re a male who takes nitroglycerin for heart disease you should really sign off on Viagra. Why? It turns out that Viagra in combination with nitroglycerin can lower the blood pressure very rapidly and thus lead to a heart attack or stroke. While some of the male persuasion might argue that going out with a bang would not be such a bad thing, I respectfully disagree.  There are certainly more ways than one to skin a cat and  other, safer treatments exist to treat erectile dysfunction. Another way to suffer a tragic end during sex is rupture of an aneurysm.

A recent study found that for the estimated 27,000 Americans who have either known or unknown brain aneurysms, having sex definitely increases the risk of rupture of the aneurysm. An aneurysm, by the way, is the result of a weakened  wall of a blood vessel-in this case an artery.  When it ruptures it is catastrophic, leading to death in over 40% and serious brain damage in survivors.  Brain aneurysms do run in families but can present either suddenly or subtly.  As such, they are often  missed both by patients and by doctors.

Other triggers in this study which led to rupture of the artery included caffeine, the worst offender at 10.6%, vigorous physical exercise at 7% and lesser causes such as anger, being startled and even nose blowing.  All of these triggers can cause a rise in blood pressure which in turn ruptures the brain aneurysm.

What to do? Well, for God’s sake don’t stop living! Rather than avoiding these triggers, find out if you are at risk for aneurysm by checking your family history. People with high blood pressure, polycystic kidneys or with Marfan’s syndrome are at increased risk. If you suffer a headache which is severe and sudden in onset, go to the emergency room immediately as this headache could be a sign of a brain aneurysm.

I for one could live without caffeine, blowing my nose or getting angry.  Rocking and rolling whether running on the track or in the privacy of my home are two activities I would rather continue to enjoy as long as possible.