In a new study from Hospital Universitario Príncipe de Asturias in Madrid, researchers found that getting a flu vaccine can reduce the risk of a common type of heart attack in people 60 and older.
The findings suggest that suggests the virus plays a role in rupturing plaque.
In the study, the researchers in Spain used data from five consecutive flu seasons and zeroed in on 8,240 people who had heart attacks.
They found flu and cold temperatures were each independently associated with an increased risk of that kind of heart attack, and flu shots could reduce that risk among people 60 and up.
The study reinforces the need to conduct prevention campaigns during cold waves and influenza seasons. The most important prevention tool we have is influenza vaccination.
The team says health experts usually aim for a 60%-70% flu vaccination rate for people over 60 as well as people with high-risk conditions and health care workers.
Sadly, these targets are not met in Europe or the U.S. It’s important to try to reach this target and, if possible, exceed it. Influenza is not a trivial disease. It causes many preventable deaths for reasons other than the respiratory disease itself.
The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have long recommended the flu vaccine to protect against cardiovascular disease complications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older.
In late March, the CDC said weekly flu infections in the U.S. were “unusually low.” But the agency cautioned that COVID-19 has made measuring flu cases more difficult, and it warned flu activity could rise in the coming months.
While flu season typically peaks between December and February, it can last as late as May, which is why the CDC still urges people to get a flu shot this spring.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about this popular weight loss diet linked to higher heart disease risk and findings of alcohol may cause immediate harm on the heart in these people.
For more information about heart disease prevention and treatment, please see recent studies about common high blood pressure drugs may actually harm your heart health and results showing a new way to chomp away plaques that cause heart attacks.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. One author of the study is Dr. J Alberto García-Lledó.
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