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Flu Shots and Heart Disease

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Updated August 14, 2012

Why Flu Shots are Important for Those with Heart Disease:

People with chronic conditions, such as heart and cardiovascular disease, may wonder whether or not they should have a flu shot. The answer is a resounding yes. In fact, people with heart disease are more likely to die from the flu than people with any other chronic condition.

People with heart disease are also at a higher risk for complications from the flu, such as pneumonia, heart attack and respiratory failure.

Decrease Your Risk of Blood Clots:

If avoiding the flu isn't enough of a reason for you, if you have cardiovascular disease or a history of blood clots, another reason to get your flu shot is that it may decrease your risk of a blood clot in the future.

Researchers have known that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems in those with coronary artery disease, but weren’t sure why. It still isn’t clear exactly how the protection occurs, but studies have shown that people who had a flu shot were 26% less likely to develop a blood clot in the next five years.

For people under the age of 52, the benefit was even greater. These participants were 48% less likely to develop a clot.

Final Note:

It is important to note that people with heart disease or cardiovascular disease should not have the nasal flu vaccine, only the flu shot. The nasal flu vaccine contains a weakened live virus, which could trigger symptoms in people with chronic illnesses, such as heart disease.

Talk with your healthcare provider or your cardiologist about whether or not the flu shot is right for you.

Need more proof? About.com's Guide to Heart Health, Dr. Rich Fogoros, tells you why flu shots are important for heart health too.

Sources:

”Flu Shots Lower Risk of Blood Clots.” Health Day 11 Nov 08. Medline Plus. National Institutes of Health. 01 Jan 09.

”Flu Shots: Important if you Have Heart Disease.” MayoClinic.com 05 Sep 08. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. 02 Jan 09.

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