Heart Disease and the Flu: How the Flu Causes Heart Health Complications

Heart Disease and the Flu: How the Flu Causes Heart Health Complications

Any sort of infection causes possible harm to the circulatory system and the heart. The flu is no exception. If you have heart diseases such as heart failure, Hypertensive heart disease, Pulmonary heart disease, heart valve disorders, Arrhythmias (including atrial fibrillation), or Congenital heart defects, you are at a higher risk of having a sudden heart complication after being infected with the flu. 


Who is Most Likely to Experience a Sudden Heart Complication 

A 2018study shows that there is an increased likeliness of heart attacks and strokes in people who have contracted the flu. Adults who have been infected with the flu are 6 times more likely to experience a heart attack within a week of the confirmed infection. The study showed that these symptoms were most pronounced in older adults and the ones who are experiencing their first heart attack. A 2020 study observed over 80,000 adults from 2010 to 2018 (spanning 8 flu seasons) who were hospitalized with the flu in the United States. In this study, it was discovered that sudden heart issues were common and occurring in 1 out of every 8 patients. This equals out to about 12% of patients.


Why Does This Happen

The flu can cause labored breathing and inflammation in the body even in healthy adults. The virus causes your blood pressure to rise and makes your heart beat faster and work harder increasing inflammation. A healthy heart can usually take this in stride, but an ailing one sometimes can’t. This extra work can cause plaque to break apart inside of the artery and create a blockage causing a heart attack. 


What to Do if You’ve Been Infected With the Flu

It’s best to stay inside away from other people to prevent the spread of any virus including the flu. Be sure to consume plenty of liquids, get lots of rest, and monitor your symptoms to ensure they don’t become worse, especially if you have a medical history of heart disease. Look into taking an over the counter cold and flu medicine after talking to your doctor to find the one that best suits you. If your symptoms do become more severe, seek medical attention. 


Protection From the Flu

The best way to protect yourself from the flu and prevent any lasting effects it can have on your body is to get your CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommended annual flu vaccination. Getting your flu shot when you have a preexisting heart condition is crucial to your health as the rate of heart cardiac events in people with heart disease is lower especially in people who have experienced a cardiac event within the last year. Taking this simple precaution can save you the time and trouble of having to recover from the flu and possibly save your life. 

If you haven’t gotten your flu vaccination this year, no worries! You can still get your yearly vaccination well into flu season. If you’re interested in scheduling your flu shot, you can visit BASS Urgent Care at our website here or you can call us at (925) 329-3719. We also accept walk-ins between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm on weekdays and Saturdays from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Here at BASS Urgent Care, we work to ensure that our patients are safe and informed in all health concerns including the flu and heart health. Schedule your vaccination today with BASS Urgent Care to help prevent the spread of the flu.