How the flu affects your heart

March 5, 2018 by From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Amid the most intense flu season in more than a decade, a new study published in the The New England Journal of Medicine confirms that the flu virus significantly raises your risk of having a heart attack within a week of being diagnosed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends all people over 6 months of age, with few exceptions, should get a flu shot.

Everyone should know that getting a helps prevent the flu. But that's not all.

"It's been shown that if you get a flu shot, it will lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke by about 50 percent during that flu season," says Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist.

Seriously? Yes. You see, the influenza virus can cause an inflammatory reaction all over your body. That's why you feel miserable. And, when that reaction happens, it also can irritate the lining of your arteries. If those arteries are already in trouble with plaque buildup, the inflammation can prompt a tear. A blood clot could form, blocking blood flow to your heart or brain, causing a heart attack or stroke.

"So I tell patients, get a flu shot," says Kopecky. "Not because I'm so concerned about them getting the flu, but I'm concerned about them having a or a stroke. And patients, once you tell them that, they say, 'Oh, I didn't realize that. I'll get my flu shot this year.' "

Explore further: A flu vaccine may protect your heart, too

Related Stories

A flu vaccine may protect your heart, too

September 25, 2017
Flu season and more importantly, flu shot season is here. It's common knowledge that the flu vaccine prevents the misery of influenza and helps protect vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, young children, and the ...

As flu blankets the nation, a new study links the virus to heart attacks

January 29, 2018
The flu doesn't just cause aches, chills and debilitating fatigue. A new study shows it may also increase the risk of a heart attack.

Red wine proves good for the heart (again)

February 1, 2018
Antioxidant compounds found in red wine are advancing the treatment of heart disease—the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.

Cholesterol crystals are sure sign a heart attack may loom

August 17, 2017
A new Michigan State University study on 240 emergency room patients shows just how much of a role a person's cholesterol plays, when in a crystallized state, during a heart attack.

Shingles increases risk of heart attack, stroke

July 3, 2017
Contracting shingles, a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, increases a person's risk of stroke and heart attack, according to a research letter published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

NHS urged to screen stroke patients for silent heart disease to prevent thousands of deaths

January 20, 2016
A new study has revealed that more than a third of stroke patients with no known history of heart disease have significant tightening of the arteries around their heart (coronary artery disease) and three percent will go ...

Recommended for you

Physical activity necessary to maintain heart-healthy lifestyle

September 24, 2018
Exercise and physical activity are of vast global importance to prevent and control the increasing problem of heart disease and stroke, according to a review paper published today in the Journal of the American College of ...

Height may be risk factor for varicose veins, study finds

September 24, 2018
The taller you are, the more likely you are to develop varicose veins, according to a study led by Stanford University School of Medicine researchers that examined the genes of more than 400,000 people in search of clues ...

Prosthetic valve mismatches common in transcatheter valve replacement, ups risk of death

September 24, 2018
In the largest multi-institutional study to date, led by researchers from Penn Medicine, the team found that among patients who underwent a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a high number experienced severe and ...

Study reveals a promising alternative to corticosteroids in acute renal failure treatment

September 21, 2018
A protein produced by the human body appears to be a promising new drug candidate to treat conditions that lead to acute renal failure. This is shown by a study conducted at São Paulo State University (UNESP) in São José ...

Can a common heart condition cause sudden death?

September 20, 2018
About one person out of 500 has a heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). This condition causes thickening of the heart muscle and results in defects in the heart's electrical system. Under conditions ...

New drugs could reduce risk of heart disease when added to statins

September 20, 2018
New drugs that lower levels of triglycerides (a type of fat) in blood could further reduce the risk of heart attack when added to statins. These new drugs, which are in various stages of development, could also reduce blood ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.