According to a new study by Dutch researchers, the likelihood of a heart attack is six times higher during the week following a flu diagnosis compared to the year before or after.
The research also discovered that approximately one-third of patients died from any cause within one year of being diagnosed with the flu.
The study is an important reminder for flu patients and caregivers to be aware of the symptoms of a heart attack and the importance of getting a flu shot.
In the study, the research team used test results from 16 laboratories in the Netherlands, which covered around 40% of the Dutch population, along with death and hospital records from 2008 to 2019.
They found that 401 individuals had at least one heart attack within a year of their flu diagnosis, with a total of 419 heart attacks.
Of the 419 heart attacks, 25 were in the first seven days after the flu diagnosis, 217 were in the year before diagnosis, and 177 were in the year after diagnosis, but not including the first seven days.
The researchers calculated that individuals studied were 6.16 times more likely to have a heart attack in the week following a flu diagnosis than in the year before or after.
In a Canadian study conducted in 2018, hospitalized people were six times more likely to have a heart attack in those seven days.
Researchers recommend that patients and caregivers be aware of the association between the flu and heart attacks and be informed about heart attack symptoms.
The influenza virus is known to increase blood clotting, which can weaken fatty plaques that have built up in the arteries.
The inflammation that is part of the body’s immune response against the virus can also contribute to this weakening.
If a plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form, blocking the blood supply to the heart, and causing a heart attack.
The researchers note that the association between the flu and heart attacks is important and applies to different populations.
The link between the flu and heart disease is that getting the flu can increase the risk of a heart attack.
Influenza virus infection has been shown to increase the clotting of blood and can weaken fatty plaques in the arteries.
If a plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form and block the blood supply to the heart, leading to a heart attack.
This is because the body’s immune response against the virus causes inflammation, which can further weaken the plaque.
The risk of heart attack is six times higher in the week after a person is diagnosed with flu than in the year before or after.
Therefore, it’s important for flu patients and those caring for them to be aware of heart attack symptoms and to take steps to prevent the flu, such as getting a flu shot.
Here are some tips to help prevent the flu:
Get a flu vaccine: The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year. The flu vaccine can help protect against the flu and reduce the severity of symptoms if you do get sick.
Wash your hands frequently: Regular hand washing with soap and water can help prevent the spread of flu viruses. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid close contact with sick people: If someone you know has the flu, avoid close contact with them until they are no longer contagious.
Cover your nose and mouth: Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze to help prevent the spread of flu viruses.
Stay home if you are sick: If you are sick with the flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Practice good health habits: Get enough sleep, exercise regularly, manage stress, and eat a healthy diet to help keep your immune system strong and prevent illness.
Remember that the flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness, and taking steps to prevent the flu can help protect yourself and others from getting sick.
If you care about the flu, please read studies about how to treat your flu at home, and common painkiller ibuprofen may strongly influence your liver.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about when an aspirin a day to prevent heart attacks is too risky, and results showing daytime naps could help prevent heart attacks and strokes.
The study was conducted by Annemarijn de Boer et al and presented at a meeting of the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
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