Flu increases heart attack risk

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

March 23rd, 2018

Editorial Team

‘Six times more likely to have a heart attack in the week after flu diagnosis, says new research’

A new study has revealed that people with laboratory-confirmed influenza are at significantly greater risk of having a heart attack.

‘We found that you’re six times more likely to have a heart attack during the week after being diagnosed with influenza, compared to the year before or after the infection,’ says study author Dr Jeff Kwong, an epidemiologist and GP with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and Public Health Ontario in Canada.

Flu was already known to be associated with increased cardiovascular death rates but the new study is the strongest evidence yet that confirmed cases of flu leads to hospitalisation for heart attacks.

In the study, the people who had a heart attack while suffering from a flu infection were older adults, according to Dr Kwong. Most of them were over 65, and many had risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.

Flu vaccines have previously been shown to reduce the risk of heart failure and are also recommended for people suffering from chronic conditions such as diabetes and COPD.

Flu season approaching its annual peak

Europe continues to see high levels of flu activity, with flu season expected to peak in the coming weeks.