FLU AND HEART ATTACK
ANCHOR LEAD: PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE FLU ARE MORE LIKELY TO HAVE A HEART ATTACK, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
As if having the flu doesn’t make people feel bad enough, now a study of tens of thousands reveals that folks who get the flu are also more likely to have a heart attack. Rick Lange, chief of clinical cardiology at Johns Hopkins, says the culprit is inflammation.
LANGE: So inflammation in and of itself takes individuals who have hardening of the arteries and makes them more likely to develop a clot in the artery that causes a heart attack. What the vaccine does is it prevents the person from getting the flu in the first place. Well you say, that seems pretty obvious. Well, it does but only about 60% of Americans actually get the flu shot. More importantly, only about 40 to 50% of individuals with known heart disease actually get the flu shot and these are people who are predisposed to having a heart attack. :26So when the new flu vaccine comes out, roll up your sleeve. Receiving the vaccine should prevent flu as well as serious infections such as pneumonia that may also develop, and it could prevent a heart attack. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.