Getting the flu shot can help us avoid all of the uncomfortable symptoms of influenza. But can it do even more than that? The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus, which can lead to serious complications. Having the flu can double the chance of having a heart attack, especially in someone who already has a cardiovascular condition. A recent review, presented by the University of British Columbia at 2016 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, looked at almost a dozen recent human trials that have established a link between having the flu and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The researchers concluded that getting the influenza vaccine has a huge impact in reducing the risk of adverse cardiovascular events like heart attacks—by as much as 50% in people with heart disease. The risk of related death was also decreased by half.
The authors of the study cautioned that data between trials were inconsistent before they were combined in the meta-analysis, but indicated that the potential benefits and low risk of the vaccine make it an important preventative measure. For this reason, they highly recommend the flu shot for everyone, but in particular for people diagnosed with cardiovascular conditions.