Flu Shot and Your Heart

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Story Updated: Oct 24, 2013

Getting a flu vaccine may do a lot more than keep the seasonal bug away. It may also help lower your risk of a heart attack or other major cardiac events.

Researchers analyzed data from five published studies and one unpublished study that looked at flu and cardiovascular issues. More than 6,700 patients were included. 36 percent had a history of heart problems.

In the 5 published studies, 2-point-9 percent of people who got the flu vaccine developed a major heart event within one year of follow-up. That's compared to 4-point-7 percent of those who received placebo or were in a control group.

Data from the unpublished study were similar.

The greatest benefit was seen in high-risk patients who had a recent heart attack or other acute coronary syndrome.

The researchers are calling for further study to confirm the efficacy of the flu vaccine as a low-cost and safe cardiovascular therapy beyond current treatments.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of Healthdaytv. With the news that can help you stay healthy, happy and fit.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com