Flu shot could reduce heart attack risk
People between the ages of 50 and 64 often do not get a flu shot unless there is a particular reason to--compromised immune system, working in a health facility, or caring for a sick family member, to name a few. But doing so may help reduce the risk of heart attacks in those who also suffer from carotid artery disease, or a narrowing of the arteries. According to a new study published in the journal Heart, getting a flu shot could cut heart attack risk in half among middle-aged people.
The study focused on 559 people who had been admitted to a hospital, 275 who suffered a cardiovascular event and 284 who had not. The participants were over the age of 40. Around one in eight of the heart attack patients (12.4 percent) had recently had the flu, compared to only seven percent of the comparison group. Half of the patients had had a flu shot that year. The flu had not been diagnosed in around 10 percent who had the infection and, after controlling for other influential risk factors (age, cholesterol, smoking status), the researchers found vaccination seemed to be protective, decreasing the risk of a heart attack by 45 percent.
While previous studies have suggested that flu vaccination for all middle aged adults may not always be cost-effective, heart disease previously had not been taken into account.