Newswise — MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Good news for heart disease and stroke patients: For most patients, it's probably safe to have sex.

"For a patient who has sex with a familiar partner in a familiar setting, sexual activity generally is safe and no more strenuous than golf," said Loyola University Health System cardiologist Dr. John Moran.

Moran concurs with a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association, which says that men and women with stable cardiovascular disease and no or minimal symptoms during routine activities can engage in sexual activity.

Loyola stroke specialist Dr. José Biller said that resuming sexual activity and intimacy is important both to patients and to their partners.

"Enhanced communication and post-stroke sexual education are paramount to a healthy, ongoing relationship," Biller said.

Biller is chairman of the Department of Neurology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Moran is a professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology. Biller and Moran both have been named Top Doctors by U.S. News & World Report.The American Heart Association statement said cardiac rehabilitation and regular physical activity can reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications related to sexual activity. But patients with severe heart disease who have symptoms with minimal activity or while at rest should not be sexually active until their symptoms are stabilized.