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Flu may increase heart attack risk sixfold: study

04:07 PM Mar 30, 2023 IST | Ground report
flu may increase heart attack risk sixfold  study

People suffering from a contagious cold or flu may have a six times higher risk of heart attack a week later, says a new study.

The study was led by researchers from the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. The study highlights the importance of the flu vaccination program, saying that it is very important for its patients and treating doctors to have awareness of the symptoms.


According to a recent study, individuals with a concealed condition may have a heart attack risk that is eight times higher, highlighting the importance of being aware of heart attack symptoms for flu patients and those caring for them.

The study also emphasizes the significance of receiving a flu shot. To ensure the reliability of the findings regarding the connection between flu virus infection and acute heart attacks, researcher Annemarijn de Boer of the Julius Center for Life Sciences and Primary Care at UMC Utrecht in the Netherlands stressed the importance of demonstrating the robustness of the results in a diverse study population.


Flu linked to increased risk of heart attacks

The influenza virus is known to cause inflammation as part of the body’s immune response as well as increase blood coagulation or clotting. Fat or fatty plaques that build up in the arteries can narrow the arteries, leading to a heart attack, and the build-up of fat can block the blood supply to the heart.


For the study, the team analyzed laboratory test results of 26,221 cases of influenza between 2008 and 2019 and compared them to the patients’ death and hospital records.


About 401 patients had heart attacks before or after the flu, some of them more than once, the analysis found, adding that the researchers looked at 419 heart attacks in total.


The study noted that the total number of heart attacks was 25 in the first seven days after flu screening, 217 within the year before screening and 177 in the year following flu screening. About 35 per cent of heart attack patients died within a year of getting a flu test, regardless of the cause.

According to an older study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the flu virus plays a role in breaking down plaque, which leads to heart attacks.

It is important to increase awareness among physicians and hospitalized flu patients about heart attack symptoms, implementing strategies to prevent flu infection, including vaccination, the study said.

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