Study: Flu shot may help with heart problems

Published On: Oct 22 2013 05:39:59 PM EDT
DETROIT -

Flu season is fast approaching and researchers say there is an extra reason to make sure you get your flu shot.

New studies find the vaccine may help protect heart patients from heart attack, stroke and even dying from heart disease.

New research also highlights just how significant that benefit can be especially for people who've recently suffered a heart problem.

Loreen Naylor thought the chest pains she was experiencing were nothing serious.

"At first I thought it was muscle pain and wasn't too worried about it and then I realized this is not right," said Naylor.

She was diagnosed with heart disease. Naylor gets a yearly flu shot now.

The new research finds the vaccine may offer extra protection for her and other heart disease patients.

"I encourage anybody who's skeptical about getting the flu vaccine for any reason that there is potential other benefit here from a cardiac point of view," said Dr. Jacob Udell from the University of Toronto. Researchers from the University of Toronto reviewed studies that compared patients who received flu shots to those who did not.

The patients were on average, in their mid 60's.

"Overall there was about a 33 percent reduction in risk for heart attacks, strokes and other major cardiovascular events in those who received the flu shot compared to those who'd received a placebo or just the standard of care," said Udell.

Among patients who had suffered a recent heart attack there were even bigger benefits.

"It's very important to me so I can do all the things that I love to do," said Naylor.

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