Contrary to movie mythology, having sex doesn't increase your chances of a heart attack, but snorting cocaine lifts the risk of seizure more than 20-fold.
A new Australian study is the first to analyse all known triggers for heart attacks, including sexual activity, cocaine use, pollution, heavy meals, and stressful major events like terrorist attacks.
Researcher Dr Geoffrey Tofler said traditional long-term approaches to heart attack prevention, like diet and exercise regimes and medication, are important but they often ignore other brief triggers.
These external pressures - such as sudden severe stress or physical exertion - can be a factor in up to 40 per cent of heart attacks.
"We know, for example, that the incidence of heart attacks rises sharply in the days after people are exposed to major events such as an earthquake or a September 11," he said.
Having sex, however, causes very little increased risk of heart attack whereas cocaine use boosts the likelihood 20 times.
"If individuals know what the relative risks are they will be better able to manage their own health accordingly," he said.
Further research will address questions such as whether, during a highly stressful event such as the last minutes of a close football final, people at risk would benefit from added medicine to prevent blood clots, fast heart rate and raised blood pressure that could increase the risk of a heart attack.