It is no secret that influenza infection, also known as the flu, can wreak havoc on one’s health, especially if preexisting health conditions are present. This is especially true for those with cardiovascular disease, with whom the risk of morbidity and mortality is significantly increased.
Thanks to the flu shot, the severity of the flu in individuals—and in society at large—is reduced. It has long been known that for those with risk factors, including cardiovascular disease, the benefits are even more pronounced.
Benefits of Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is available by shot and nasal mist. In two weeks of vaccination, vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body. It reduces the severity of the disease and helps to prevent hospitalization. The vaccine offers protection to your family from the influenza virus which can be enhanced by ensuring other families in your community also get their flu shot. According to CDC “Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year”. Some people are more likely to develop flu-related complications as compared to others. This high-risk group should get a vaccine every year.
- Adults older than 65 years
- Pregnant women
- Children younger than 5 years
- People who have medical problems like congestive heart failure, blockage in heart arteries, diabetes, COPD, cystic fibrosis, etc
Benefits of Flu Vaccine for Cardiac Patients
A recent study determined to demonstrate the advantages that the influenza vaccine offers those with heart problems and prove that receiving the flu shot drastically alters outcomes for those with cardiovascular disease.
Using data from 16 total studies, including both randomized controlled trials (4) and observational studies (12), researchers set out to determine the effect the flu vaccine may have on mortality and the cardiovascular outcomes of those with cardiovascular disease.
Those included in the study had a mean age of 69.2 years. Approximately 63% were men, 65% had hypertension, nearly a third had diabetes mellitus, and nearly a quarter identified as smokers. The median follow-up period was 19.5 months.
Through the course of the study, researchers found that receiving the flu shot was associated with lower incidence of death from any cause or cardiovascular reasons, and major adverse cardiovascular events when compared to the control (no flu shot).
What it Means
The flu shot has been a proven option for reducing the risk of influenza infection and severe illness for years now. This study expands the known benefits of the flu shot to include significant risk reduction of death and major adverse cardiovascular events in individuals with heart problems.
Not only is this important for those who have preexisting cardiovascular conditions and consistently receive the flu shot when appropriate, but it also provides extra incentive for those who have not traditionally opted to receive the influenza vaccine. The research should further encourage at-risk populations to get the flu shot and may be used as an effective resource for doctors when explaining the benefits to their unsure patients.
You can consult with one of our experienced cardiologists through a virtual visit or in person at one of our clinic locations. To schedule an appointment, call Peak Heart & Vascular or connect online to submit an appointment request. We have 10 locations across the valley and in Northern Arizona with clinics in Surprise, Avondale, Flagstaff, Prescott, Peoria, Sun City West, Laveen, and Phoenix, Arizona.