Study: Flu heightens risk for heart attacks | KOB 4
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Study: Flu heightens risk for heart attacks

Colton Shone
February 06, 2018 06:30 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The sneezing, nose running, body aches and fever are all ways the flu virus rears its ugly head. This season has hit the U.S. particularly hard. It's even one of the deadliest. The CDC reports 53 children have died from the flu.

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Researchers warn those who have the flu may not be out of the woods when they recover. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine says people are six times more likely to suffer a heart attack within days of having the flu because of stress on the body and inflammation.

"This ongoing battle between plaques building up and plaques breaking down is exactly where infection or inflammation kicks in. So, the body’s own mechanism is usually protective, sometimes it's a little exuberant," said UNM Hospital Chief of Cardiology Dr. Warren Laskey.

Laskey said the connection between flu and heart attacks has been discussed for years, but this would only affect those who are already at risk of a heart attack.

"I think anybody over 50 in this country for sure, males particularly, are considered high risk for heart attacks," he said.

Laskey said if you're coming down with the flu and already at risk for a heart attack then it becomes a wait-and-see game. But he said if you don't have the flu, preventative measures should be taken, including getting a flu shot, washing your hands and staying away from those infected.

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Colton Shone

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