Upper respiratory tract infections trigger heart diseases, especially heart attacks

Influenza infections, which are especially effective in winter and spring, trigger heart attacks and other heart diseases as well as pneumonia and lung infections. Near East University Hospital Cardiology Department Head Prof. Dr. Hamza Duygu made recommendations, noting that there are precautions that people with known heart disease can take to protect themselves from infections.

Influenza infections, which are more common with cold weather and progress faster especially in people with chronic heart disease than healthy people, can cause lower respiratory tract infections and pneumonia due to lower body resistance. Prof. Dr. Hamza Duygu said that people with cardiovascular disease, heart failure, arrhythmia, and hypertension are more affected by infections, and hospitalization may be required in some cases.

Fluid loss and high fever caused by infection can cause heart attack.
“It is a known fact that there is a direct relation between infections and cardiovascular diseases. With flu infections, the immune system is activated in the body and an inflammatory reaction called inflammation occurs. As a result of this reaction, vascular occlusion may occur as a result of the disintegration of the previously formed plaques in the heart vessels and the formation of clots on it, and this process can progress to a heart attack in the person. Dr. Hamza Duygu emphasized that fluid losses in the body and fever during infections increase the workload of the heart by accelerating the heartbeat.

Untreated cardiac and cardiac muscle inflammation cause of sudden cardiac arrest
Some bacterial infections, mostly seen in viral infections, can cause a reaction in the pericardium and heart muscle, causing inflammation of the pericardium and/or heart muscle. Prof. Dr. Hamza Duygu stated that it is absolutely necessary to seek a specialist in case of complaints such as chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, dizziness and palpitations in people who have recently had a flu infection, and if complaints such as shortness of breath, swelling in the legs and abdomen develop together with the flu infection in people with previous heart disease, they should be examined by a cardiologist. Prof. Dr. Hamza Duygu said, “Inflammation of the pericardium-cardiac muscle is a clinical condition that requires initiation of treatment in a short time and, in some cases, hospitalization is necessary. If not treated, people can progress to rhythm disorders, heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest.

Flu infections and drug use
Some antipyretic and analgesic drugs used in infections can increase blood pressure by causing water and salt retention in the body, and can cause heart failure attacks in people with previous heart disease. Again, antibiotics used in the treatment of infection can cause bleeding by interacting with heart medications, especially blood thinners (such as Coumadin).

People with heart disease should definitely consult a cardiologist before using drugs in cases such as flu infections, lower and upper respiratory tract infections, and pneumonia. . In his statements on the subject, Hamza Duygu said, “In addition to drugs used to reduce edema in the upper respiratory tract, commonly used drugs such as nasal drops can accelerate the heart and cause palpitation attacks. For this reason, it is vital that patients with pre-existing tachycardia or heart rhythm disorders consult their cardiologist before using these drugs.”

Precautions to be taken for cardiac health
Making recommendations to protect people with heart disease from infection, Prof. Dr. Hamza Duygu listed the measures that can be taken as follows;

  • Be careful about infections in winter, pay attention to hygiene, avoid crowded environments and close contact with people with infections.
  • Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins
  •  Make sure rooms are ventilated frequently
  •  Pay attention to fluid consumption
  •  Get the flu and pneumonia vaccine