Survived the flu? Don’t let a heart attack follow

I don’t know a family that has not been hit by the flu this year — except mine… so excuse me while I find some wood to knock on right now.

I’m not trying to make light of this awful flu season by any means.

The fact that this has been such a tragic year for victims of the flu and their families only makes me realize even more, just how fortunate I am that anyone really close to me has been left unscathed.

But I have heard the horror stories. And I wondered how, in this day and age, do so many people die from the flu? I was reading story after story about people who’d gone to the doctor with the first symptom… who’d taken the Tamiflu… yet, died.

But it was a woman’s story I heard while I was in a long checkout line at the grocery store last weekend that really struck me…

Her father had recently passed away after a bout with the flu — a full 10 days later, after his symptoms had abated and he seemed fine — from a heart attack the doctor said was most likely brought on by the flu.

How flu leads to heart attack

We’ve always known that it’s the young and the older among us who are particularly susceptible to the flu.

The young are hard hit because their immune systems are much less developed to fight off microbes. And the older among us can fall victim because of a weak immune system. But if your immune system is strong enough to get you through the infection, why would your body then succumb to something like a heart attack?

Heart attack following a bout of flu is not unusual. In fact, for a while, scientist have known there was a relationship there…

But it wasn’t until recently that results of a Canadian study confirmed that flu victims aged 35 and older were six times more likely to have a heart attack during the first week following a flu diagnosis than the year before or the year after.

And the culprit is one you’ve heard of before: inflammation.

Inflammation is already a contributor to chronic disease. The young lady in the line at the store had said her dad had high blood pressure… but not terribly high. She said his meds were low dose, and his cholesterol was just borderline.

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But still, these conditions contribute to inflammation in the body. So when it was coupled by the inflammation produced by an immune system attack, spurred in attempts to hunt down and catch a contagion, his body couldn’t handle it.

But that’s not all the harm the inflammation may have caused…

According to information I found at Live Science, “the body’s immune response to the virus may make the plaque inside blood vessels unstable, which could lead to an artery blockage.”

Additionally, according to the American Heart Association, when a person has the flu, the heart may need to work harder to pump blood through the lungs — and that increase stress on the heart.

Don’t wait ‘til flu season to prepare

Most of us have strong personal feelings about the flu vaccine. So I’m not going to make a suggestion in that regard…

But I do want to stress the importance of overcoming or reducing the inflammation abomination. An extra six percent risk of heart attack following the flu may not sound like much, but if your body is already ripe with inflammation, it could be the tipping point.

To quote Dr. Isaac Eliaz…

When inflammation and hyperviscosity combine, they can negatively disrupt every system in your body, including the immune system. A healthy immune system should engage only in proper inflammatory responses. When the inflammatory response is too low, the immune system can’t respond adequately to pathogens and illness becomes overwhelming. But when inflammatory processes crank up too high, the body’s response becomes inappropriate or overexaggerated.

During and leading up to flu season we should all take the normal precautions to avoid catching it. But avoiding the dangers of inflammation is something that can become a year-round lifestyle habit with nothing but big benefits…

Some of the best ways to reduce inflammation in your body include:

Magnesium

Magnesium-rich food sources include seaweed, spinach, chard, shiitake mushroom, sundried tomato, acorn squash, kale and other leafy greens.

Turmeric

With hundreds of studies exploring its positive benefits, turmeric can be consumed in its fresh, root-like form, as a dried, ground spice, or in supplement form. Follow these three steps to optimize turmeric’s cancer-fighting benefits.

Fiber

Although grain-based foods are promoted as fiber-rich foods, vegetables contain just as much fiber, along with providing more vitamins and minerals. For example: 3.5 oz. sun-dried tomatoes, peas or artichoke contain around 5.5 grams fiber while the same quantity of brown rice contains 4.7 grams. Choose a wide variety of vegetables to boost up your fiber intake.

Luteolin

Luteolin is a type of flavonoid that can be found in lemongrass, broccoli, green beans, carrots and bell peppers, and it considered Traditional Chinese Medicine’s most promising cancer and inflammation fighter.

Omega 3

Omega 3-rich food sources include mackerel, herring, red salmon, sablefish, pink salmon (canned), sardines (canned), tuna (canned), cold pressed flaxseed oil, flaxseed, chia seed, hemp seed and walnuts. Krill oil is a great choice because of its high anti-oxidant content.

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ)

Similar to CoQ10, PQQ is considered an essential micronutrient. Not only does it defend against mitochondrial decay (that can take down entire body systems), but it is a potent anti-inflammatory. It is considered a longevity nutrient with big heart benefits.

Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!

Sources:

  1. How Getting the Flu May Put You at Risk of a Heart Attack — LiveScience.com
  2. How Does the Flu Actually Kill People?Scientific American
  3. Flu infection raises risk of heart attack in week after diagnosis — STAT

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Margaret Cantwell

By Margaret Cantwell

Margaret Cantwell began her paleo diet in 2010 in an effort to lose weight. Since then, the diet has been instrumental in helping her overcome a number of other health problems. Thanks to the benefits she has enjoyed from her paleo diet and lifestyle, she dedicates her time as managing editor of Easy Health Digest™, researching and writing about a broad range of health and wellness topics, including diet, exercise, nutrition and supplementation, so that readers can also be empowered to experience their best health possible.