Healthy Living: Study shows elderly flu patients six times more likely to suffer heart attacks

By now you’re probably sick of hearing about the flu shot, even though doctors say it’s the number one way to protect yourself from the flu.

But the shot has another surprising benefit you may not have heard about.

Experts say the flu shot helps prevent heart attacks as much as quitting smoking or taking medicine for high blood pressure.

According to a Canadian study, elderly people who are sick with the flu are six times more likely to have a heart attack. Doctors don’t fully know why the flu may lead to heart attacks in some people, but it could be the added stress the virus puts on the body.

That, combined with cardiovascular problems, can be dangerous and deadly.

According to the CDC, a good vaccine can prevent the flu in 40 to 60 percent of people.

Even when the effectiveness of the shot is lower, doctors say the vaccine still decreases your risk of heart attack.

Flu season in San Diego has been a rough one. So far this season, 269 people have died compared to 49 deaths this time last year. There have been close to 17,000 reported cases of the virus so far, 97 percent of people who died had existing health problems and two-thirds of those flu patients were not vaccinated.

So, to protect your heart and your overall health, consider getting a flu shot.

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