Analysis by researchers at the Universities of Lincoln and Nottingham has indicated that patients who receive vaccination against influenza are less like to suffer a stroke during the same flu season. A similar study was undertaken during 2010 and the results were the same for the correlation between the risk of heart attack and the influenza vaccination.
The flu virus is believed to cause inflammation which prompts the plaque in the arteries to burst. The symptoms of flu also force the heart to work much harder. Academics have stated that they are aware of the heightened risk of cardiovascular disease during the influenza season of the year.
The study included analysis of the records of at least 47000 patients who had succumbed to strokes during the 2001 to 2009 period. This information was compared to a controlled group of a similar number of people. It was found that the vaccination reduced the risk of stroke by approximately 24% if all other variations are taken into account. The reduction of risk was most prevalent if the vaccination was received during the early part of the influenza season.
To understand the link between stroke risk and the flu vaccination, further studies would have to be done. The findings by the academics stands to reinforce the value attached to the country’s national influenza vaccination programme. The reduced risk of stroke is an additional health benefit linked to the vaccination.
In Britain, it is recommended that those over the age of 65, along with others who are at risk, such as those suffering from chronic illnesses and disabilities, should receive the flu vaccination annually.
Image credit: Lynne Featherstone