If you have the flu, then your chances of having a heart attack jump dramatically.
Your chances of a heart attack are increased six-fold during the first seven days after getting the flu. This is according to a new study by researchers in Canada. 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 flu diagnosis.
Says Dr. Jeff Kwong, lead author of the study, “Our findings are important because an association between influenza and acute myocardial infarction reinforces the importance of vaccination.” And it’s not just the flu that can bring on heart problems. The researchers found a significant association between many acute respiratory infections, and acute myocardial infarction. So if you are wheezing and coughing, keep reading.
The researchers think that the risk may be higher for older adults. Also, patients with influenza B infections, and patients experiencing their first heart attack are in danger over others on their second or third heart attack. Doesn’t sound fun, does it.
“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.
So if you are older, and are prone to the flu or respiratory illness, then get that jab, people. Also, the researchers say be sure to wash your hands a lot to prevent respiratory infections. And if you are in the thick of a bad cold or the flu, and your heart feels a little funny, don’t delay medical evaluation for heart symptoms. This is particularly important within the first week of an acute respiratory infection.
Look after yourselves, people.