Heart Attack from the Flu? How Common Infections Can Trigger Heart Attacks and Strokes

We are constantly reminded of the many well-known heart disease risk-factors such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. However, did you know that common infections like the flu, urinary tract infections (UTIs), sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia, oral infections like gingivitis, viral infections like herpes or hepatitis, bacterial infections like staphylococcus, and yeast infections can all trigger heart attacks and strokes?

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Medical School published their findings in the Journal of the American Heart Association. They found that “infections generally trigger an inflammatory reaction in the body. The body triggers its white cell production to help ward off an infection, but that process also increases the stickiness of cells called platelets. This encourages the formation of clots that could block the flow of blood to the heart or brain.” The researchers believe that prevention is key and suggests that everyone, especially seniors, take advantage of the availability of vaccines to try to prevent infections in the first place. 

Now, medical experts believe that the virus, COVID-19, behaves in the same way. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, COVID-19 can affect the heart in many ways that can lead to temporary or permanent damage due to the following factors:

  • Lack of oxygen
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart)
  • Stress cardiomyopathy (a heart disorder that affects its ability to pump blood effectively)

To speak with a healthcare provider at Primary Medical Care Center & Urgent Care Clinic to assess any non-emergency health concerns, including suspected COVID-19 symptoms, please call (305)751-1500 for our Miami-Dade clinic or (954)289-0000 for our Broward clinic. For life-threatening emergencies, always call 911. For coronavirus updates and resources, please visit our website at www.primarymed.com.

Source: American Heart Association News