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Can the flu cause a heart attack? – healing practice



Increased risk of heart attack due to flu infection?

During the last waves of influenza, it was repeatedly observed in various hospitals that the number of people infected with a Heart attack were admitted increased. But it can really flu infection the risk increase for myocardial infarction?

Apparently yes: For example, one in the professional journal”The New England Journal of MedicineA study has published that the flu increases the risk of heart attack sixfold. And people with heart disease suffer, says another study nearly ten times more likely to have a heart attack after catching the flu, reports infectious disease expert Dr Kristin Englund in a stream contribution the Cleveland clinic (USA).

People with heart disease are more affected

This is what happens when you have the flu immune system aggressively to ward off the virus. The reaction causes internal inflammation, which can raise your blood pressure and put extra strain on your heart, says Dr. English.

Plaque deposits in the arteries become more susceptible to rupture in this situation. When plaques rupture, arteries can become clogged blood clot build up and disrupt blood flow to your heart – a blockage could trigger a heart attack.

People with existing heart problems are more likely to cardiovascular system overwhelmed by the effects of the flu, says Dr. English

“Fighting infection can be heartbreaking to force stronglyShe adds. “If you have an underlying health condition like heart disease, complications from the flu can lead to something much worse.”

Can the flu cause other serious health problems?

Absolutely – and it’s a fact backed up by statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pending confirmation.

Between 2010 and 2020, between 140,000 and 710,000 people fell ill each year in the United States from the flu hospital delivered, according to CDC estimates. Flu-related deaths ranged from 12,000 to 52,000 over the same period.

“The flu is often underestimated”notes Dr. English “It’s not just a cold, and it can be deadly.” Possible complications flu are:

  • Pulmonary infection and bacterial pneumonia, which can lead to respiratory failure. “It’s complication #1”says Dr. English “If people’s pneumonia gets bad enough, they often end up on a ventilator.”
  • Additional heart problems such as myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
  • stroke
  • encephalopathy (serious damage to the central nervous system)

Who is most at risk of flu complications?

You are at high risk of developing complications from the flu if you have other serious health conditions, including heart disease and/or a weakened immune system due to age (very young or older).

Tips to prevent flu-related heart problems

Be proactive in preventing flu problems by doing the following:

To get vaccinated: According to a study conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA) reported that seasonal flu shots can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack or cardiac arrest if you are in a high-risk group.

Avoid contact with sick people: No handshakes during flu season. Stay away from other people’s bodily fluids. Good hand hygiene with frequent hand washing is also important.

Keep your heart under control: If you have heart disease, carefully manage your condition with medication, proper diet, and exercise as recommended by your healthcare provider. These preventative measures will help keep your overall immune system strong. If your heart condition is stable and you catch the flu, you are more likely to experience fewer and less serious complications.

Don’t ignore flu-like symptoms: Speak to your doctor immediately, especially if you belong to a risk group. Timing is important. Medicines can easily shorten the duration of the flu if taken a few days after symptoms appear.

Take time to rest: If you have flu-like symptoms, take time to rest and drink plenty of fluids. The longer you stay home and rest, the faster you will recover. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


  • Cleveland Clinic: Can the Flu Trigger a Heart Attack?, (accessed October 5, 2022), Cleveland Clinic
  • Jeffrey C. Kwong, et al. : Acute myocardial infarction after laboratory-confirmed influenza infection; in: The New England Journal of Medicine, (published: 01/25/2018), The New England Journal of Medicine
  • Charlotte Warren-Gash, Ruth Blackburn, Heather Whitaker, Jim McMenamin, Andrew C Hayward: Laboratory-confirmed respiratory infections as triggers of acute myocardial infarction and stroke: a self-controlled analysis of ensemble case series National Linked Data of Scotland; in: European Respiratory Journal, (published on: 29.03.2018), European Respiratory Journal
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Disease Burden of Flu, (accessed: 05.10.2022), Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention
  • American Heart Association: Flu Vaccine May Protect Against Serious Heart and Stroke Complications (Accessed October 5, 2022), American Heart Association

Important Note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.

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