Heart problems after infectious diseases? There is a connection

The risk of cardiovascular disease increases in the post-infection period, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Ilona Sztancsik, a cardiologist, anesthesiologist, and intensive care therapist at the Cardio Center, shed light on the connections and the importance of investigation.

Infectious disease can also be a risk factor

Experts say the body’s immune response may explain why infections may be risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The latter term refers to all cardiovascular diseases, from heart attack, stroke to heart failure. It has been well known to date that there are certain lifestyle risk factors that increase the chances of developing them, including smoking, sedentary lifestyles, and obesity.. However, there are also non-lifestyle risk factors such as age, gender, genetic predisposition. In addition, some infections can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, for example, according to an article in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota studied 1,312 people who had a heart attack and 727 people who had an ischemic stroke. Taking into account their medical history, it was found that many of them had an infectious disease up to 2 years before the cardiovascular event. The most common infections were pneumonia, respiratory and urinary tract infections. 37% of patients who had a heart attack developed heart problems within 3 months of infection, compared with 30% of patients who had a stroke. It was also found that 2 weeks after infection was the most risky in this regard, especially if a patient also required hospitalization.

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What could be the connection?

The exact relationship is still being explored, but researchers say a solution needs to be found in the functioning of the immune system. Our defense system starts to produce more white blood cells and small blood cells, called platelets, in case of infections. In a healthy body, platelets are responsible for “sticking” the damaged blood vessels, such as in a cut. However, if there are too many of them, they can “stick together” and the risk of blood clots forming increases. So infections can encourage the body to start a kind of blood clot formation process in the blood, upsetting its normal balance. This can even lead to a heart attack or stroke.

What can we do?

“The results of the research require further investigation, but so much can be deduced from it that in any case, infections for which prevention is possible are indeed worth preventing.”He emphasizes dr. Ilona Stancsik, cardiologist, anesthesiologist, intensive care therapist at the Cardio Center. – This is why vaccinations can be important for the elderly and those who are struggling with some underlying disease. However, cardiac screening alone can shed light on a number of risk factors, so it is worthwhile for more vulnerable individuals to perform a complex series of tests each year, even without symptoms. The risk group includes middle-aged people living a stressful life, those who lead a sedentary lifestyle, smoke, have a history of coronary heart disease, and those with a family history of cardiovascular disease and / or diabetes. It is also worth realizing that genetic screening for the propensity to thrombosis is now available with a blood test, and in addition to cardiological examination, lifestyle medicine can be of great help in prevention.


Source: Napidoktor by napidoktor.hu.

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