Flu Vaccine May Cut Heart Attack Risk and Stroke


Flu vaccine not only protects you from the flu, but also flu vaccine may cut heart attack risk and stroke. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine shows that getting a flu vaccine may cut the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

The correlation between the flu with a heart attack is still speculative. However, the flu is suspected applying pressure to the body, especially the workings of the heart that makes the body more vulnerable.

“We may have identified that the flu vaccine may also be a vaccine against heart attacks,” says lead author Jacob Udell, a cardiologist at Women’s College Hospital and a scientist at the University of Toronto.

Relationship Between Flu Vaccine, Heart Attack Risk and Stroke

Udell and colleagues analyzed six studies dating back to the 1940s concerning the heart health of more than 6,700 men and women with an average age of 67. Half got a flu vaccine; half got a placebo shot or nothing. About a third had heart disease and the rest had risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking.

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Their major findings showed that People who injected flu vaccine will have a 36 percent lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death. Meanwhile, people who have just had a heart attack will have a 55 percent lower heart disease when other vaccinated.

“Our study provides solid evidence that the flu shot helps prevent heart disease in vulnerable patients — with the best protection in the highest risk patients,” Jacob Udell said.

This study certainly is a bright spot in the handling of heart problems despite changing lifestyle to reduce the risk of heart attack is important.

How the Flu Vaccine helps?

Udell offers several theories as to how the flu shot may help prevent heart disease and cardiac events. One is the “vulnerable plaque theory,” which asserts that inflammation caused by the flu “may turn a stable plaque into an unstable plaque and cause a cardiac event.”

Plaque is the result of a buildup in the lining of the arteries of fatty substances, cholesterol, calcium and fibrin (a clotting material in the blood).

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Another is the “vulnerable patient theory.” This suggests that the side effects from the flu, such as coughing, low oxygen, low blood pressure, fast heart rate and possible pneumonia, may strain the heart and cause a cardiac event, he said.

According to Udell, the study offers one more good reason to get a flu shot. The CDC recommends that everyone above the age of six months get the flu vaccine. In fact, all major health organizations recommend that people with heart disease get the influenza vaccine, says cardiologist Mariell Jessup, president of the American Heart Association. “However, this kind of data underscores the risk of death from the flu and how it can be prevented.”



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