You may not need to tell the DVLA that you have coronary heart disease – it depends on your symptoms, your treatment and which type of driving licence you have. The rules are stricter if you drive a bus, lorry or coach.
If you’re not sure about whether or not it’s safe to drive, ask your doctor and follow their advice. Remember, you should never drive if you don’t feel well enough to do so safely.
You should also tell your motor insurer if you have coronary heart disease and about any treatment you have. If you don’t, you may not be insured.
Most people continue to have a healthy sex life if they have coronary heart disease. But remember that sex is a form of exercise, so your heart will be working harder than when you’re at rest.
If you have angina, your doctor will probably have given you a nitrate medicine to take if you get chest pain. You may find it helpful to keep this handy when having sex, just in case you need it. But it’s important not to take Viagra if you’re taking nitrates because they can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure when taken together.
After a heart attack, it’s probably ok to have sex when you feel well enough. This may be after about two to four weeks, but see how you feel. Speak to your doctor for more advice.
You may have a lower sex drive or problems having sex after a heart attack or surgery for coronary heart disease. This may be because you’re feeling worried or down or it may be due to the medicines you’re taking. This doesn’t usually last long – but don’t be embarrassed to speak to your GP about it. They’re used to having discussions like this, and may be able to help.
If you’re over 40, your GP may offer you a health check called a cardiovascular risk assessment. They’ll ask you about your medical history, family history and lifestyle. They may weigh you too, and measure your blood pressure. They may also offer you a blood test to check your cholesterol levels and sometimes your blood glucose (sugar) levels – this is to check for diabetes.
Your GP will put all this information together and probably use an online risk calculator. This can give them an idea of how likely you are to get coronary heart disease over the next 10 years. Depending on your risk, your GP may recommend you have some more tests or offer you some medicines.
You and your GP can also discuss if making some lifestyle changes will help to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. These changes may include stopping smoking or being more active.
It’s worth remembering that having an increased risk of getting coronary heart disease doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get it. And even if you have a low risk, you can still get heart disease, so you should still live a healthy lifestyle.
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