High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease and Influenza
Wow, the above title sounds a real mouthful but the reason for it is this. Apparently, (listen up at the back please) the yearly Winter Flu Jab can help reduce the number of fatal heart attacks, incidence of death and the number of unplanned emergency procedures that require work on the clogged arteries of patients with Coronary Artery Disease,
“Way to go, lets all pile down the Doc’s and get jabbed”
Without being accused of making too much of a joke about the above topic there is growing evidence apparently suggesting that people with Heart Disease or Heart Trouble generally should get a shot of the flu vaccination every year.
If you think about it the underlying logic behind it all is extremely sound. It is a common fact that people with Cardiovascular problems die of influenza every year, in fact in greater proportions that the norm. Therefore if you can prevent them getting influenza in the first place then you are a major step forward to preventing these deaths.
The key is that with patients already at high risk of deterioration in their condition could really be either put at the edge or over it health wise without this vaccination.
The latest study that has all the medical community talking was presented at the recent American Heart Association meeting in Chicago by a Research Group presenting its findings from their studies in Poland.
The problem with replicating the study in America was that in Poland the research involved 658 patients who had Coronary Heart Disease and the methodology of the survey would be deemed unethical in the US. They took 325 of them and gave them an active Influenza Vaccine and with the other 333, they gave them a placebo.
The problem with doing this in the US is that guidelines prevent them from doing it recommending that Heart Patients get the flu shots.
The real problem that this whole exercise has highlighted is this. The findings were extremely useful because of the parallel groupings etc in that their base terms of reference were almost identical i.e. they all had Heart Disease. This gave the research an extra form of validation but the reliance on the guidelines in the US against replicating this survey there has highlighted another major inconsistency.
According to the American College of Cardiology, only one out of every three Adults in the US with Heart Disease actually received the Influenza jab last year.
So much for adhering to guidelines preventing further research and a recommendation that every heart patient should get a flu vaccination. It would appear to be a case of “do what I say and not what I do!”
About the Author: Stephen Morgan is principle Editor at
Living with High Blood Pressure and also writes for
High Blood Pressure and