Flu Shots Curb Breathing, Heart Problems in Diabetics

While the influenza vaccine has endured its fair share of controversy, new research shed light on one of the flu shot’s added benefits: diabetes patients who get the vaccine may not suffer as many cardiovascular or respiratory problems.

While the influenza vaccine has endured its fair share of controversy, new research shed light on one of the flu shot’s added benefits: diabetes patients who get the vaccine may not suffer as many cardiovascular or respiratory problems.

According to Eszter Vamos, MD, public health researcher at Imperial College London, “Research shows that in addition to severe chest infections, flu may also lead to heart attacks and strokes”.

Vamos and his team had examined seven years (2003/2004- 2009/2010) of data among approximately 124, 503 people in Britain with type 2 diabetes, to analyze how flu vaccines may influence the probability of hospitalization and death for diabetics.

They assessed the patients’ age, weight, smoking status, gender, and whether they had a diagnosis or prescription for conditions for a variety of other medical issues. Vamos made sure to study records both during and after flu season.

The team found that vaccination was linked to 30% lower hospital admission rates for stroke, 22% lower rates for heart failure, and 15% lower rates for pneumonia or influenza.

They were unable to assess the possibility some patients had undiagnosed diabetes, which Vamos did acknowledge to be a study limitation.

Despite potential limitations, the research findings do underline the benefits of the vaccine.

Laura Rosella, MD, public health researcher, University of Toronto remarked,” It is well known that people with chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, are more likely to suffer complications from the flu.” The experts concluded that the best protection among people with chronic conditions, then, would be preventing the flu in the first place.