People who get the flu vaccine may have improved heart health, according to a recent study published in Scientific Reports.
Researchers from the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran, concluded that patients who received flu vaccinations had a 26% reduced risk of having a heart attack and were 33% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
This finding is based on a review of five randomized controlled trials that focused on myocardial disease and influenza vaccines.
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The patients who participated in the studies had all been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease previously and were 61 years old, on average.
Out of the total of 9,059 patients, 4,529 of them received the flu vaccine, while 4,530 received a placebo shot.
After a nine-month period, 517 of the flu vaccine recipients experienced “major cardiovascular events” — compared to 621 of the participants who received a placebo.
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“Revealing a compelling insight into the potential benefits of influenza vaccination, our comprehensive meta-analysis, based on the latest randomized controlled trial data, demonstrates a significant interaction between influenza vaccination and the reduction of major cardiovascular events,” wrote the researchers of the study.
“Notably, patients who received the influenza vaccine experienced a remarkable risk reduction of over 20% in cardiovascular death.”
As for why influenza vaccines seem to reduce the risk, the researchers noted that the shot could prevent inflammation and secondary infections, while also stabilizing plaque amounts in the heart.
The vaccine could also help stimulate the immune system, which the study authors noted is essential for cardiovascular health.
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Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, called the study “important” and said it “builds on what we already knew.”
He was not involved in the research.
“It is not surprising that flu shots would decrease the risk of heart attacks,” Siegel told Fox News Digital.
“The flu is one of the great enablers,” he went on. “It adds stress and inflammation to the body and decreases the overall immune response, all of which can lead to acute cardiac events.”
The flu “adds stress and inflammation to the body and decreases the overall immune response.”
The researchers called for further research to “elucidate the precise mechanisms driving this association and to explore the long-term impact of influenza vaccination on cardiovascular outcomes.”
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In the meantime, they recommended that “health care providers and policymakers should take heed of these findings and consider prioritizing influenza vaccination for patients with recent cardiovascular disease as a feasible and potentially life-saving preventive measure.”
Fox News Digital reached out to the study authors for additional comment.
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Heart disease is the primary cause of death among U.S. adults, killing one person every 33 seconds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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