An analysis of autopsy reports for nearly 35,000 people who died from heart disease over an eight-year period showed that the risk of dying from a heart attack increased by one-third during weeks of flu epidemics, compared with non-epidemic weeks.

Theory: Influenza causes inflammation, which can loosen plaques (fatty deposits) in coronary arteries and cause heart attacks.

If you have heart disease: Ask your doctor about getting an annual flu shot when the vaccine becomes available (usually in October or November).

Want to Keep Reading?

Continue reading with a Health Confidential membership.

Sign up now Already have an account? Sign in