Flu Vaccine May Lower Heart Attack Risk

Just the thought of a new flu season is almost enough to give some of us a heart attack.

Connecting Flu Vaccine to Lower Heart Attack Risk

But a new study, recently published in the journal Heart, and summarized by Bloomberg says that maybe it should be just the opposite:  “Immunization against the respiratory illness lowered the probability of heart attack by 45 percent, according to a study of more than 500 hospital patients…suggests flu vaccination programs targeting the elderly should be extended to include younger adults, especially those with coronary artery disease. Among seniors, the shot reduces severe illnesses and complications from flu by as much as 60 percent and deaths by 80 percent, according to the World Health Organization in Geneva.”

“Previous research has shown that acute infections, such as influenza, cause the body to increase production of disease-fighting inflammatory proteins in the blood that can clog up vessels narrowed by heart disease,”  said Raina MacIntyre, head of the school of public health and community medicine at UNSW and the study’s first author.

Increase in number of Heart Attacks during Flu Season

“‘We know that every flu season, heart attacks increase,’ she said. ‘To me, it’s fairly convincing evidence that flu vaccine can protect against heart attack in people who already have diseased arteries.’”

“Her study, which received funding from U.K. drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), found that almost 1 in 10 hospitalized patients had laboratory-confirmed flu, even though it wasn’t suspected or diagnosed at the time of their admission.  The research compared 275 hospitalized heart attack patients with 284 people who were treated in a hospital outpatient department from 2008 to 2010. It also found respiratory-tract infections doubled the risk of a heart attack, suggesting flu-fighting vaccines could also help prevent the leading cause of death and disability worldwide.”

“‘There is a whole lot of people who are at risk of heart attack in the 50-to-65-year age group who are under-vaccinated,’ MacIntyre said.”

With so many pharmacies and doctors already offering the vaccine, from where will you get this year’s vaccine?

Please share your experience either in the comments section below or on our facebook page.

Of course, if you need to know if your coverage includes vaccination costs, or to plan for 2014, please complete the form below and one of our experts will be in touch right away!

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