The infection-heart connection
There are two major reasons why infections may be linked to heart attacks, says infectious diseases specialist, Dr Sean J. Cloonan. The first is that infections cause stress on the body. “And any stress like this can tip somebody over the edge to having a heart attack,” Dr Cloonan says. “Think of infection as that tipping point.” Second, infections cause inflammation in the body, he explains, which can worsen the process of plaque building up in the arteries. Read on to learn some of the infections that can worsen heart trouble.
A 2018 study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine that was published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that influenza was one of the respiratory illnesses that raised the risk of a heart attack and stroke. Risk increased sharply among the study participants in the first few days after diagnosis. However, receiving the flu vaccine did not increase the risk, so get your flu shot if you can.
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the lungs that is often caused by an infection, and it can raise the risk of a heart attack or stroke, according to The New England Journal of Medicine study. The researchers found that heart attack risk rose fivefold and stroke risk increased threefold during the first three days following the diagnosis of a respiratory tract infection. The risk declined over time, however, and was nearly normal within three months after people recovered from the infection.