Flu shot may lower risk of early death in people with high blood pressure

In the journals

Need another reason to get your annual flu shot? It could protect you from a fatal heart attack or stroke if you suffer from high blood pressure, according to research presented at a 2019 joint conference of the European Society of Cardiology Congress and the World Congress of Cardiology.

Previous research has found that the inflammation from a flu infection can trigger a heart attack or stroke, and people with high blood pressure are especially at high risk.

This study used Danish medical records to identify approximately 608,000 people ages 18 to 100 with high blood pressure during nine consecutive influenza seasons. The researchers determined how many had received a flu vaccine each of those years.

They then followed the people over each flu season and tracked how many died — over all, from cardiovascular causes, and specifically from heart attacks or strokes. Then they looked at the association between getting a vaccine and the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease during the subsequent flu season.

The researchers found that compared with people who skipped the shot, those who got the flu vaccine were 16% less likely to die that season from a cardiovascular cause, and 10% less likely to die from a heart attack or stroke.

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