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Heart Health

More protection for your heart? It’s just a shot away

October 1, 2022

You can lower your risks for heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease by staying current on vaccinations.

cropped photo showing the upper arm of a person receiving a vaccination and the gloved hands of the person administering it

With all the attention on COVID-19 vaccines over the past two years, you may have neglected to receive other routine vaccines recommended for older adults — namely, those that protect against influenza, pneumonia, and shingles. But if you have heart disease or are at risk for it, these shots are important. And early fall is a great time to get back on schedule.

Earlier this year, a large study confirmed that flu vaccines may help lower the risk of serious cardiovascular complications (see "Flu shot linked to lower heart-related risks"). The risk of heart attack and stroke rises in the year following a bout of either pneumonia (a serious lung infection caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi) or shingles (a reawakening of the chickenpox virus that emerges through the nerves and causes a painful rash). Vaccines can help lower these risks as well.

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