Do You Have the Flu? Then You Are More Likely To Have a Heart Attack

Do You Have the Flu? Then You Are More Likely To Have a Heart Attack

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If you have the flu, then your chances of having a heart attack jump dramatically.

Chances of a heart attack are increased six-fold during the first seven days after detection of laboratory-confirmed influenza infection. This is according to a new study by researchers in Canada.

“Our findings are important because an association between influenza and acute myocardial infarction reinforces the importance of vaccination,” says Dr. Jeff Kwong, lead author of the study. And it’s not just influenza that can bring on heart problems. The researchers found a significant association between many acute respiratory infections, and acute myocardial infarction.

The risk may be higher for older adults, patients with influenza B infections, and patients experiencing their first heart attack. The researchers also found elevated risk – albeit not as high as for influenza – with infection from other respiratory viruses.

“Our findings, combined with previous evidence that influenza vaccination reduces cardiovascular events and mortality, support international guidelines that advocate for influenza immunisation in those at high risk of a heart attack,” says Kwong.

The researchers looked at nearly 20,000 adult cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza infection from 2009 to 2014 and identified 332 patients who were hospitalised for a heart attack within one year of a laboratory-confirmed influenza diagnosis.

“People at risk of heart disease should take precautions to prevent respiratory infections, and especially influenza, through measures including vaccinations and handwashing,” says Kwong.

So what can you do? Patients should not delay medical evaluation for heart symptoms particularly within the first week of an acute respiratory infection.

Look after yourselves, people.

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