Studies show the Flu and Covid-19 increase heart attack risks

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – If the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t given us enough reason to get a flu shot this winter, perhaps a new study by the American Heart Association will. 

According to the  AHA, being infected with influenza or another flu like illness significantly increases your chance of having a heart attack.

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 “Basically within the first seven days of having the flu there were increased rates of heart attacks. Anytime we have a fever, our heart rate goes up. That can stress the heart. Imagine if the heart is having to pump harder and work harder, it will therefore lead to stress to the heart,” says DR. Maurice Alston, Cardiologist at Parkridge. 

Doctors encourage everyone to get a flu shot but say that it is especially important for those that are considered part of the vulnerable population such as: persons in underserved communities and those with high cholesterol, obesity or diabetes.

In addition, health officials say that not only influenza, but the Coronavirus can increase your risk for a cardiac event. 

“Research has shown that since we have studied Covid-19 there has been an increased rate of heart attacks/strokes. It leads to a lot of inflammation in the body and makes patients hypercoagulable. Covid-19 definitely leads to more heart disease and heart conditions, including heart attacks,” says Alston.

On the upside, Doctor Alston with Parkridge Medical Center says that along with getting the influenza vaccine- mask wearing and social distancing may decrease the spread of the flu and other viruses this season.