A new research has shown flu vaccines might help prevent deaths caused by cardiovascular problems, particularly in people with hypertension.
Flu is a common illness and a major cause of death in many parts of the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza causes around 960,000 hospitalizations and 79,000 deaths every year.
Although, previous studies have suggested that flu vaccine can lead to an increased risk of heart attacks or stroke – due to a weaker immune system – a recent research has contradicted the hypothesis.
A team of researchers from University of Copenhagen, Denmark, conducted a massive research to see the effects of flu virus on the death rate of people with hypertension. Their leader, Daniel Modin, along with the rest of the team, presented their findings at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2019 that is taking place in Paris, France.
The researchers analyzed data from 608,452 people, between the age of 18-100 and suffering from hypertension. The participants were observed for nine flu seasons, from 2007-2016, comparing the ones that got a flu shot with the ones that didn’t.
They accounted for all the deaths caused by a cardiovascular misfunction along with other reasons, including age, medical conditions and socioeconomic status.
The team found “an association between vaccination in the flu season and an 18% reduction in relative risk of dying from all causes, 16% less relative risk of dying from a cardiovascular event, and 10% lower relative risk of dying from a heart attack and stroke.”
According to Modin, the flu vaccine is readily available and on top of decreasing influenza infections, it protects against heart attacks and strokes. He further added, “Heart attacks and strokes are caused by the rupture of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries leading to the heart or the brain. After a rupture, a blood clot forms and cuts off the blood supply. It is thought that the high levels of acute inflammation induced by influenza infection reduce the stability of plaques and make them more likely to rupture.”