The research presented during the 2012 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress suggests that influenza or flu vaccination not only protects from flu but also could decrease heart related diseases. Dr. Jacob A Udell, MD, a clinical investigator at Women’s College Hospital, Toronto, Canada and his colleagues through their study discovered that flu shot reduces the risk of heart attacks by 50% and cardiac deaths by 40%. Common flu is a viral disease which attacks people seasonally. Study shows that heart attack cases increase during flu season though the relation between flu and heart health is not very clear. One of the reasons suggested by researchers is that the flu related complications like pneumonia, asthma and other secondary lung infections reduce the intake of oxygen.
Heart pumps harder to supply oxygen to different parts of the body leading to cardiac problems, mainly in those who have history of heart diseases. Flu vaccination prevents these flu related complications, thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases. The other reason researchers have set forth is that as a part of immune reaction, to fight with any viral infection, body releases certain inflammatory substances which make unstable plaques. Unstable plaques cause blood clots in the blood vessels obstructing the flow of blood in the arteries causing heart problems. Seasonal vaccination stops the formation of plaques and clots in the blood stream as it prevents the attack of flu.
Annual flu vaccination is recommended to all the people over 6 months of age by U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, more importantly to those with history of cardiovascular diseases as it prevents thousands of deaths every year.