A study conducted by a research group from Aston Medical School in Birmingham and the University of Cambridge has revealed that people suffering from common infections such as cold or flu are at great risk in having heart attack or stroke. If the patients suffer a chest or bladder infection they should be given statins or any other heart medicines according to the findings of the study.
Records from 1.2 million patients were examined for this study. The patients were monitored; those who had pneumonia or urinary tract infections were prone to having a heart attack within eight years. Those patients had 40 percent chance to have a heart attack and 150 percent chance for a stroke.
Common infections have major impact on heart. While someone may not be worried about common flu and cold due to the medical advances of this era, the infections can push someone towards major heart disease. Common infections can be deadlier than obesity; which is alarming situation for patients prone to heart attacks. Patients are around 25 percent more likely to have heart attacks/ stroke from obesity.
The researchers believe long term inflammation can be caused by common infections which can result in the clogging or clotting of blood vessels.
To eradicate the risk of heart attack / strokes patients need to be prescribed statin or aspirin as a preventive measure. The researchers said, patients with infections have to take treatments as the same way as a patient with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.
Every year in England around 600,000 people get admitted to hospital because of chest infection as example- pneumonia. Around 300,000 get admitted due to urinary infections.
The study presented at American College of Cardiology conference in Orlando also revealed that if people with common infections suffered heart stroke or attack they could also die from it. Those patients were two times more likely to die from heart stroke and three times more likely to die from heart attack than those who had no infections.
According to the lead author of the study Dr. Paul Carter, life threatening heart diseases have a clear association with infections that is illustrated by the data. He said that the figures are too large to ignore. In UK most deaths are caused by serious infections directly. But their research found out that, infection severe enough to send patients to hospitals can present a risk that is delayed in the form of atherosclerotic diseases.
Dr. Rahul Potluri, cardiologist in Aston University said that their figures suggest that those who are hospitalized with a urinary tract infection or respiratory infection are 40 percent more prone to face serious heart conditions and 2.5 times more prone to suffer from heart stroke. Those patients are also less likely to survive from these heart conditions.
Since inflammations can be caused by infections, it can be linked to heart disease. Inflammation has a great role in heart disease like heart attacks or failures. It is a subject of interest for the experts to do study on. Last year a study revealed that patients with the treatment of anti-inflammatory canakinumab could cut down the risk of heart disease by 24 percent. This drug is not yet available for patients with heart disease; if available it could be the biggest breakthrough in cardiovascular medicine since the last breakthrough was statin that was developed 30 years ago.
Although very little is known about the role of infection in the process, it can be said that to reduce the risk of heart disease anti-inflammatory therapies can be taken.
Dr. Potluri also said that, “Although inflammation has been linked to atherosclerosis, this is the largest study to show that common infection is such a significant risk factor.”