Winter infections like flu can double the risk of heart attacks and strokes, a extensive study has found.
Sufferers are twice as likely to be affected in the week after catching a range of common respiratory infections. Significantly, the researchers said the risk did not depend on age or gender.
The comprehensive study was undertaken by scientists from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's Medical Statistics Unit who examined two million patients registered with approximately 500 GPs.
The research has renewed calls from experts and campaigners for all those with heart disease to have the flu jab to minimise their risk.
Around 300,000 people have heart attacks in Britain each year, 117,000 of them fatal. Every year more than 130,000 people in England and Wales suffer a stroke.
Flu dislodges fatty deposits that build up in the arteries, leaving them free to move around the body and get stuck in the brain or heart where they block the blood flow.
The researchers found the increased risks associated with flu were a 'substantial public health problem' that is killing thousands of people every year.
Source - Daily Mail