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The surprising association between the flu and a heart attack

by , 26 January 2018
The surprising association between the flu and a heart attack
Who would've ever thought that there's a link between the flu and a heart attack?

Research conducted by scientists at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Public Health Ontario (PHO) found that chances of a heart attack are increased six-fold during the first seven days after detection of laboratory-confirmed influenza infection.

Keep reading for the full findings of the study…

New study shows that the flu can significantly elevate your risk of a heart attack

For their study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers looked at nearly 20,000 Ontario adult cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza infection from 2009 to 2014. They identified 332 patients who were hospitalised for a heart attack within one year of a laboratory-confirmed influenza diagnosis.
 
The researchers found a significant association between acute respiratory, particularly influenza, and heart attack. They said the risk may be higher for patients with influenza B infections, older adults and patients experiencing their first heart attack.
 
Furthermore, the researchers found a heightened risk – albeit not as high as for influenza – with infection from other respiratory viruses.

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“Our findings are important because an association between influenza and acute myocardial infarction reinforces the importance of vaccination,” said Dr Jeff Kwong leader author of the study and scientist at ICES and PHO.
 
He continued: “Our findings, combined with previous evidence that influenza vaccination reduces cardiovascular events and mortality, support international guidelines that advocate for influenza immunization in those at high risk of a heart attack.”
 

You should take precautions to prevent respiratory infections if you’re at risk of heart disease

Dr Kwong suggests that people who are risk of heart disease take precautions to prevent respiratory infections, and especially influenza, through measures including handwashing and vaccinations.
 
He adds that acute respiratory infection patients shouldn’t delay medical evaluation for heart symptoms, particularly within the first week of diagnosis.

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