K48 -- November 2010 -- Flu Shot Prevents Heart Attack
Intro: It's flu season again, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all people over 6 months of age should get vaccinated. Sure, the flu shot helps prevent the flu, but it also helps prevent something else. Heart attack. Here's the latest from Mayo Clinic.
"I tell my patients every year, around this time of year, 'Please get your flu shot.' And they expect me to say, 'Because I don't want you to get the flu.' But I say, 'No, it's because I don't want you to have a heart attack.' "
Heart attack? Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr. Stephen Kopecky says yes. The flu vaccine helps protect against the flu and heart attack.
When patients get a flu shot, their risk of heart attack and stroke goes down by about half over the next year.
Here's why. The flu is a respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus. When the infection strikes, it causes an inflammatory reaction that can happen anywhere in your body. If it happens in your heart arteries where there may be narrowing, the artery lining can tear. Blood can then clot and block blood flow to your heart.
"We have too many patients that think, 'I really don't want a flu shot because I never get the flu.' But they don't realize how much they can help their heart."
The flu vaccine. Protection against the flu and heart attack.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
Dr. Kopecky says if you get the inhaled flu mist instead of the flu shot, you still reduce your risk of heart attack.
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