Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Flu shots may reduce risk of heart attacks, strokes and even death

LOS ANGELES — Get a flu shot to ward off a case of influenza, and as an added bonus you'll reduce your risk of a heart attack, stroke or other type of unpleasant "cardiovascular event," a new study finds.

For some time, researchers have suspected that flu shots can protect heart health as well as respiratory health. They have tested this theory in a handful of clinical trials, and the results have been mixed.

Now an international group of researchers has compiled data from a dozen randomized clinical trials to see if they could get a clearer answer to the question. What they found was "a consistent association between influenza vaccination and a lower risk of cardiovascular events," according to their report in today's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Three of the trials the researchers examined focused on patients with coronary artery disease. Some of those patients had recently experienced acute coronary syndrome, and they benefited the most by getting a flu shot. Patients who got the vaccine were 55 percent less likely to have a serious heart problem than those in the control groups.

Experts aren't sure why the flu increases the risk of serious heart problems, but they have their theories. It may cause a plaque that has built up inside the arteries to rupture, or it may cause the heart muscle to become inflamed, among other possibilities. Knowing what's going on inside the body would help figure out who would get an extra boost from a flu shot, and why.

Even with those uncertainties, the conclusion that a flu shot can protect patients with heart disease is convincing, according to an editorial that accompanies the study in JAMA.

Flu shots may reduce risk of heart attacks, strokes and even death 10/22/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 12:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida wrestling forefathers to be honored

    Human Interest

    TAMPA -- Nicole Alonso and Belinda Romano never had to worry about defending their fathers in a "my dad can beat up your dad" kind of argument.

    A building at the Boys Ranch in Live Oaks was once named in honor of Tampa wrestler Eddie Graham for his financial contributions to the residential care facility for troubled boys.
  2. Tampa's bid for fifth Super Bowl means secret and expensive promises to NFL

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Before Tampa is officially named the host of the 2021 Super Bowl, local organizers have 90 days to convince NFL owners the city can meet certain conditions.

    What are they? That's top secret.

  3. Meet Batman's 8-year-old sidekick, whose super power is vanquishing a brain tumor

    Human Interest

    First, he vanquished a brain tumor.

    Now, Ty Verbanas is preparing to help Batman take on a collection of evil villains.

    Zachary Hurst and TJ McDonnell, playing Alfred the butler and Batman,  welcome 8-year-old Ty Verbanas to the Florida Batcave.
 To inspire Ty as he faced brain surgey, a Florida nonprofit that delpoys super heroes promnised to train the boy as the Caped Crusader's sidekick.
  4. Westshore Marina District project takes shape with another acquisition

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.

    WCI Communities, Lennar's high-end subsidiary,has paid $2.5 million for 2.35 acres in the Westshore Marina District for 35 townhomes. WCI is under contract  to buy an additional 9.5 acres.
[BTI Partners]
  5. Watch a man steal a lawn mower by driving it off the lot in Clearwater

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — Police are looking for a man who drove a lawn mower straight off the Quality Motors lot on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard last week.

    Clearwater police are looking for a man who drove a lawn mower off the Quality Motors lot on May 18. (Clearwater police)