Getting a flu shot reduces the risk of STROKE years later, study shows

Getting a flu shot reduces the risk of STROKE years later, study shows

Getting a flu shot reduces the risk of STROKE years later, study shows

Getting a flu shot reduces the risk of STROKE years later, study shows

  • Getting the flu shot reduced the risk of stroke by more than 20 percent
  • Influenza infection is believed to increase a person’s chances of having a stroke
  • Vaccination against widespread influenza may be a viable public health strategy to prevent stroke

Getting the flu shot may be more important than ever — a study shows it also lowers the risk of stroke years later.

Researchers say health officials should do more to ensure that everyone gets routine flu shots, not just the most vulnerable.

The study analyzed the health records of more than 4 million adults in Alberta, Canadain a period of 10 years.

The results showed that people who got the flu shot once a year or every flu season over a 10-year period reduced their risk of stroke by more than a fifth on average.

The protective effect was even more pronounced in men and younger people.

The researchers did not specifically investigate why the flu shot significantly reduced the risk, but the underlying hypothesis is simple.

The vaccine reduces the risk of getting and getting the flu, which is a known risk factor for stroke.

Getting a flu shot reduces the risk of STROKE years later, study shows

Getting the flu shot may be more important than ever — study shows it also lowers stroke risk years later

People who received the flu vaccine once a year or every flu season over a 10-year period reduced their risk of stroke by about 23 percent in individuals of all adult ages

People who received the flu vaccine once a year or every flu season over a 10-year period reduced their risk of stroke by about 23 percent in individuals of all adult ages

CAUSES OF STROKE

There are two main types of stroke:

1. ISCHEMIC STROKE

Ischemic stroke – which accounts for 80 percent of strokes – occurs when a blood vessel becomes blocked, preventing blood from reaching part of the brain.

2. HEMORRHAGIC STROKE

A less common hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts, flooding part of the brain with too much blood, while depriving other areas of adequate blood supply.

It can be the result of an AVM or an arteriovenous malformation (abnormal collection of blood vessels) in the brain.

Thirty percent of people who suffer from subarachnoid hemorrhage die before reaching the hospital. An additional 25 percent die within 24 hours. And 40 percent of survivors die within a week.

RISK FACTORS

Age, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, family history, and history of previous stroke or TIA (small stroke) are risk factors for stroke.

STROKE SYMPTOMS

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden vision problems or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

OUTCOMES

Of the approximately three out of four people who survive a stroke, many will be disabled for life.

These include difficulty walking, communicating, eating, and performing daily tasks or household chores.

TREATMENT

Both are potentially fatal, and patients need surgery or a drug called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) within three hours to be saved.

Lead study author Dr. Michael Hill of the University of Calgary said: ‘We wanted to find out if the vaccine had the same protective qualities for those at risk of stroke.

‘Our findings show that the risk of stroke is lower among people who have recently received the flu vaccine. This was true for all adults, not just those at high risk of stroke.’

The researchers reviewed patient records using administrative data from the publicly funded Alberta Health Insurance Plan.

It is the largest study of flu vaccination and stroke risk to date, scientists say.

The overall risk reduction was about 23 percent in individuals of all adult ages, both men and women.

But the decrease was greater among men than among women – 28 percent versus 17 percent – and the strongest among young people.

The researchers believe that the smaller relative risk reduction in the elderly may be related to a reduced biological response to vaccination in older age.

The immune response to vaccination is reduced in the elderly compared to young, healthy adults.

The elderly also have an increased risk of stroke.

Previous research suggests that catching and getting the flu can increase the risk of stroke and other heart problems.

Scientists point out that when the number of flu patients increases, the number of stroke cases usually increases three weeks later.

They think the immune response to the flu thickens the blood and inflames the arteries, leaving people more prone to clots.

‘There’s a long history between infections and stroke – upper respiratory tract infections are associated with stroke – so it was kind of natural to start looking at this,’ said Dr Hill.

‘There is a relationship between the flu and a myocardial infarction – a heart attack – so drawing links with stroke was a natural next step.’

The study was Published earlier this week in the journal Lancet Public Health.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted or interrupted.

Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Stroke victims often suffer from paralysis, loss of mobility and speech disorders.

Although stroke can be cured, time is of the essence.

The sooner a stroke victim seeks medical attention, the more effective medications can be in restoring blood flow to the brain and reversing damage.

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