A hidden culprit? Flu may heighten heart attack risk

Could something as seemingly innocuous as the seasonal flu increase the possibility of a heart attack for people at risk of heart d Researchers from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and from Public Health Ontario (PHO) — both in Ontario, Canada — have made a surprising finding, looking at the health risks associated to an influenzadiagnosis. Influenza, usually referred to simply as “the flu,” is a contagious disease caused by influenza viruses picked up from the atmosphere, or through close contact with infected individuals. Flu viruses usually infect the nose and throat, causing sneezing, coughing, a sore throat, and sometimes fever. Lead author of the study, Dr. Jeff Kwong, and a team of researchers from ICES and PHO noted that groups at risk of heart disease seem to have increased chances of experiencing a heart attack in the first week after becoming infected with the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 735,000 people in the United States experience a heart attack each year. “Our findings are important because an association between influenza and acute myocardial infarction reinforces the importance of vaccination,” Dr. Kwong notes. isease? New research suggests that may indeed be the case.


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