Suffering from a cold or the flu or a urinary tract infection can increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke within the next few days, say researchers based on findings of a recent study.
Previous work has linked chronic inflammation, which occurs anytime we have an infection, to atherosclerosis, or clogging of the arteries. Since vaccines produce an immune response to parts of infections, some have speculated they, too, could aggravate the condition.
Present research analyzed infection and vaccination rates among about 20,000 people who had a first heart attack and 19,000 who had a first stroke. All had received the influenza vaccine, and some had also received the pneumonia vaccine and tetanus shots or had an upper respiratory or urinary tract infection shortly before the heart attack or stroke.
Results showed significantly greater risks of having a heart attack or stroke within the first few days of being diagnosed with a respiratory or urinary tract infection. But no link was seen between any of the vaccinations and either heart attack or stroke.