Heart Disease Patients Encouraged to Get Flu Jab


As the winter sets in, the British Heart Foundation has encouraged people with heart and circulatory disease to get their flu jab.

Having the flu jab has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death in these people by almost a quarter.

Cardiovascular disease

Heart and circulatory disease (cardiovascular disease) includes coronary heart disease, angina, hypertension and stroke. There are around seven million people in the UK with cardiovascular disease.

It is usually caused by the build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries. There are a number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and being overweight or obese

Greater risk

People with cardiovascular disease are one of the groups of people who are more likely to get the flu, and they are at a greater risk of becoming seriously ill from the flu than people who don’t have a heart condition.

There is evidence to indicate that heart attacks are more common during or after someone has had a bout of the flu. This is because viral infections like the flu put added stress on the body because it increases the body’s metabolic rate.

A Canadian study found that older people’s risk of a heart attack was six times higher in the week after having severe flu.

Increasing vaccine coverage

An article published in the journal The Lancet indicated that having the flu vaccine can cut the risk of cardiovascular death in people with cardiovascular disease by 24%.

In Europe, around 45% of people have the flu vaccination and there are 30 million people with ischaemic heart disease. It has been calculated that increasing the coverage of the flu vaccination to 75% would lead to around 42,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease being avoided in people with heart disease.

Flu season

The British Heart Foundation has called on people with cardiovascular disease to protect themselves this winter by getting the flu jab. It believes that the bad flu season of 2016/17 may have been to blame for the increase in deaths in people with cardiovascular disease that year.

The charity’s Senior Cardiac Nurse, Maureen Talbot, said: “Getting your flu vaccine really is a no brainer. If you have heart and circulatory disease and don’t get your flu jab, you could be putting yourself at serious risk of having a heart attack or stroke.”


This article was written by a third party source and does not reflect the views or opinions of Ramsay Health Care unless explicitly stated.

Additional comments on the page from individual Consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other Consultants or Ramsay Health Care.

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